chapter  2
Analysing the Source Text
Structure and Style
WithRoy Youdale
Pages 26

The first part of this chapter provides summary background information about Mario Benedetti, the case study novel Gracias por el Fuego and its reception. Section 2.2 shows how a potentially ‘standard’ set of quick and straightforward computer-aided analyses – such as word frequency, keyword frequency and average sentence length – can be undertaken after an initial reading of the text and used to guide and inform translation decisions. Sections 2.3 and 2.4 demonstrate the application of the close and distant reading approach to two specific features of the text and their translation: the title and characterisation. In relation to the title, quantitative and contextual analysis confirmed an initial decision to translate the word ‘fuego’ as ‘light’ rather than the more usual ‘fire’. The analysis of characterisation involved the use of a variety of computational tools and approaches. These include character name extraction and frequency analysis, the discourse analysis of a character’s direct speech and network visualisations of the character set and some subsets. The limitations of quantitative character analysis and ease of use of the tools involved are also discussed.