In a context where post-colonial translation has emerged as a strong interface between post-colonial studies and translation studies, the present paper examines the case of Salman Rushdie as a post-colonial translator. Drawing on concepts and ideas put forth by the two above-mentioned paradigms, the paper will argue that the strategies used by Rushdie in his attempts to write about the importance of redressing the balance of power and of resisting Orientalising practices are similar to those used by translators of post-colonial literature. The writing of post-colonial literature becomes an act of (re)translation, while translating post-colonial literature should aim at resisting domestication and at creating a target text that remains ‘foreign’ enough for the reader. While there is no doubt that through its post-colonial and global concerns Rushdie’s entire work fits this frame, the analysis will focus only on two works, Midnight’s Children and Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, since they seem to bracket Rushdie’s efforts in this respect.
There are few professions and professionals to be constantly perceived as ambivalent. But for interpreting and interpreters, this seems to be the norm, rather than the exception. On the one hand, there has always been a sense of fascination for these extraordinary people who speak so many languages and have such a wide knowledge of the world. On the other, they have inspired reluctance, distrust or even fear. While literary works sometimes reflect one or the other perception, James Justinian Morier’s The Adventures of Hajji Baba, of Ispahan, in England (1828) reflects both and provides us with an insight into the nature and circumstances of the situation. By following the attitude towards the mehmandar throughout the novel, the present paper considers a set of memes that seem to be still valid today. The reasons this is so relate to features inherent in the profession, the privilege of understanding both sides ‘of the coin’, the power tamper with information, the risk of misunderstanding, etc.
Joseph Conrad’s fiction – Lord Jim especially – contains several instances of characters struggling with translation, or with foreign languages more generally, or transferring speech or syntactic patterns from one language to another. These features have much to suggest about Conrad’s own multilingual early life and his eventual adoption of English for his writing. They also have wider implications concerning his vision and tactics as a novelist – including his reliance on French fiction, and his regular emphases on cultural difference and on the cognitive and epistemological challenges of communicating experience. These challenges, in turn, initiate or anticipate concerns widely apparent in modernist fiction, indicating stresses in an advancing, globalised modernity which made its innovations so necessary. Appreciating Conrad’s interest in translation elucidates and confirms Fredric Jameson’s judgement of his writing as a key factor in the emergence of modernism in the early twentieth century.
Language use is the consequence of certain dynamics in people’s lives. It is obvious that translation implies, even etymologically, movement, mobility, exchange. These phenomena are more topical than ever nowadays, in the age of globalization. In the present essay, I analyze the translation of identities in the work of Oksana Marafioti, a contemporary writer of Roma origins who emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States of America. Her memoir American Gypsy is an effort to trans-late towards a multiple, volatile, fluid identity where the languages spoken by Marafioti lead to belongings and rejections. The author records, in exquisite wording, the painful process of translating from a culture to another culture, from a language to another language.
Anca Ignat and Alexandru M. Călin
It is not a recent discovery in the field of language history that the address pronouns thou and you were not, in Shakespeare’s time, used indiscriminately. If the speaker did have a choice between the two forms, that choice was by no means random, idiosyncratic or arbitrary, but always dictated by the social, relational or attitudinal context of a speech act. Nonetheless, all 20th-century Romanian translations of Romeo and Juliet (and of other Shakespearean plays) – from Haralamb Leca’s rather loose rendering (1907) to Ștefan-Octavian Iosif’s and to Virgil Teodorescu’s more refined versions (1940 and 1984, respectively) – seem to ignore the difference in associative meaning between the two forms, which is sometimes essential for a correct assessment of the relationships between characters. The latest Romanian translation of the play, which we have jointly submitted for publication within the Shakespeare for the Third Millennium project (William Shakespeare. Opere XIII, 2018) acknowledges the importance of the various associative meanings that the two pronouns carry and strives to restore these meanings to the text, though not without difficulty, given the rather restrictive form of the original, i.e. iambic pentameters, often with strict rhyme schemes. Thus, focusing on the well-known “shared sonnet” as one of the most relevant instances of pronoun alternation in the play, our paper discusses the uses of you and thou in Early Modern English and sets out to assess how much is lost in 20th-century translations, to show how our own translation restores the associative meanings of the two pronominal forms and finally to exemplify how we managed to overcome translation difficulties entailed by the metrical and stylistic demands of the text.
One of the more interesting science fiction movies of recent years, at least to Humanities academics, is Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 alien-invasion movie, Arrival. It is a film which not only features a Professor of Linguistics as its heroine, but the plot of which is organised around the critical global importance of a multi-million dollar translation project. This essay compares the film with the original novella upon which it was based – Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” (1998) – to examine the role translation plays in both, with the aim of placing this in the context of the crisis in the Humanities which has marked universities over the last few years, and can be linked to a more general crisis in liberal values. While founded upon a time-honoured science fiction scenario the movie also clearly articulates the sense of global peril which is typical of much of the cultural production of our current times, manifested in fears about ecological catastrophe, terrorist attacks, and the anthropocene, etc. Another of its crisis-points is also ‘very 2016’: its ability to use science fiction tropes to express an anxiety about how liberal values are in danger of being overtaken by a self-interested, forceful, intolerant kind of politics. Arrival is as much a work of ‘hu-fi’ as it is ‘sci-fi’, that is, ‘Humanities fiction’, a film which uses Chiang’s original novella to convey a message about the restorative potential of ‘Humanities values’ in the face of a new global threat.