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Mary Frank

Published On


Page Range

pp. 636–653


  • English

Print Length

18 pages

13. Formality of Address and its Representation of Relationships in Three German Translations of Jane Eyre

  • Mary Frank (author)
German uses both a formal second-person personal pronoun and an informal one. The requirement for the translator from English into German to choose either Sie or du where English has only the undifferentiated you will inevitably influence the target-text reader’s perception of the degree of formality of a particular relationship. This essay traces the decisions made by three translators of Jane Eyre into German about Sie and du through the lens of Jane’s interactions with Mrs. Reed, Edward Rochester and St. John Rivers. These decisions encourage target-text readers to engage in a way that the neutral you of the source text does not.


Mary Frank


Mary Frank is a freelance translator from French and German to English. She also researches translation and teaches translation theory and practice. Her research interests are the interplay/opposition of translation theory and practice and the development of approaches to translating in the presence of significant cultural gaps between the source and target cultures. She made the first translations into English of satirical short stories by popular East German author Ottokar Domma. She has served on the editorial board of The Linguist magazine and on the committee of Women in German Studies.