Word into image: Translating landscape in J. M. Synge’s The Aran Islands

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


John Millington Synge, one of the best-known 20th-century Irish writers, often depicts a unique Irish identity in his plays, such as The Playboy of the Western World. Additionally, Synge’s travel writing, The Aran Islands, is replete with his transcription of Irish wildness and indigenous life into an imaginary homeland. Many parts of The Aran Islands demonstrate Synge’s translation of an idealistic, primitive Ireland into words and images. According to Theo Hermans, translation connotes a certain degree of manipulation of the source text for specific purposes. In addition, Andre Lefevere’s views on the interplay between poetics, ideology, and translation in Translation, Rewriting and the Manipulation of Literary Fame are inspiring. Lefevere notes that translation is a pivotal way of rewriting because it can “project the image of an author and/or those works beyond the boundaries of their culture of origin” (9). Lefevere also argues that ideology, including the translator's ideology and that imposed on him/her by patrons, holds sway in translation. For Lefevere, the translator is a manipulator influenced by a particular ideology in translation. This paper examines the ideology which dominates Synge’s rendition of the Aran Islands and the extent to which Synge manipulates his representation/distortion/rewriting of the original text by creating impressive words and images inherent in the Irish landscape. It is expected that this paper will untangle the competing ideologies embedded in Synge’s translation and explicate the meanings and implications of the words and images in The Aran Islands. Copyright © 2023 Department of English, National Chengchi University.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023
Event2023 Wenshan International Conference: “Imaging Across Time” - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 18 Nov 202318 Nov 2023


Conference2023 Wenshan International Conference: “Imaging Across Time”
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China
Internet address


Chang, H. (2023, November 18). Word into image: Translating landscape in J. M. Synge’s The Aran Islands [Paper presentation]. 2023 Wenshan International Conference: “Imaging Across Time”, Taipei, China.


  • Word
  • Image
  • Translation
  • J. M. Synge
  • The Aran Islands
  • Travel writing


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