FEMINIST and POSTCOLONIAL APPROACHES

FEMINIST and POSTCOLONIAL APPROACHES - [CONTENTS] 1....

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Unformatted text preview: [CONTENTS] 1. Feminist and Postcolonial Approaches in the ‘Cultural/Ideological Turn’ in Translation Studies 2. Challenges to mainstream Translation Studies: CULTURAL/EXTRATEXTUAL DIMENSION: power relations beyond the text LINGUISTIC/TEXTUAL DIMENSION: power relations within the text and the ideological dimension of words [Ideological dimension of words and texts] • “terrorist” or “freedom fighter” • “women were given the right to vote” or “women achieved the right to vote” • “Sarkozy’s wife was a popular singer in the 80s” or “Carla Bruni was a popular singer” • “He is on trial for attacking his next door neighbour’s wife” or “He is on trial for attacking his neighbour” • “Blair met Mary Robinson last week to discuss [...]” or “Blair met Robinson last week to discuss [...]”. • “patients” or “users” • “bank accounts” or “financial products” • “partner” or “lover” or “person I ́m living with” [Ideological dimension of words and texts] The way we speak influences (to a certain extent) the way we perceive reality [T]he politics of translation takes on a massive life of its own if you see language as the process of meaning ­construction. In my view, language may be one of the many elements that allow us to make sense of things, of ourselves. [...] Making sense of ourselves is what produces identity. (Spivak 1993: 179) [IDEOLOGICAL TURN] • IDEOLOGY: a systematic set of values and beliefs shared by a particular community that shapes the way each person interprets and represents the world. (Althusser 1971) • The IDEOLOGICAL TURN challenged the possibility of producing a neutral/objective translation: ‘Ideology rather than linguistics or aesthetics crucially determines the operational choices of translators’ (Cronin 2000: 695) [IDEOLOGICAL TURN] DOMINANT IDEOLOGY  ­in the numerical sense  ­it supports the interests of the dominant, hegemonic class UNCONSCIOUS IDEOLOGY  ­becomes omnipresent and, for that very reason, goes unrecognised DOMINANT IDEOLOGY very frequently operates at an unconscious level [IDEOLOGICAL TURN] Implications for translation • Failing to consciously subscribe to one particular ideology in translation tends to imply unconsciously subscribing to the dominant ideology. This turns ‘unwary’ translators into naïve vehicles for conveying and perpetuating these dominant values. • Feminist and Postcolonial theories reveal that dominant ideology legitimises PATRIARCHAL and IMPERIALISTIC values. • The tendency of reproducing sexist and colonial values through translation has major political consequences, contributing to maintaining the status quo. • BUT ‘where there is power, there is resistance’ (Foucault 1981: 36) • Translation can be used as a sort of resistance, as a political tool producing alternative meanings • Translators can act as ethical agents of social change. [POSTCOLONIALISM] • Studies of the history of the former colonies (India, South Africa) • Studies of powerful European empires and their ‘internal’ colonies (Scotland, Ireland, Wales) • Studies of the effect of the imbalanced power relations in the globalized world – cultural hegemony of Western values [1 – FORMER COLONIES] DOMINANT Postcolonial approaches have disclosed the active role that translation has played in the colonization process – ‘the shameful history of translation’ (Bassnett and Trivedi 1999: 5) >EXTRATEXTUAL LEVEL Silencing of certain books  ­Metaphorical discourse (colony = translation)  ­ Downplaying of non ­Western translation theories >TEXTUAL LEVEL Domestication (vs. Foreignization, see Venuti 1995) RESISTANT Postcolonial translators are urged to call into question every aspect of colonialism “dismantling the hegemonic West from within” (Niranjana 1992: 167) >TEXTUAL LEVEL Foreignization (Resistancy) [2 – INTERNAL COLONIALISM] DOMINANT (E.g. Irish context) The role of translation in promoting the major/hegemonic language (English) at the detriment of the minority language (Irish) RESISTANCE Translation as a potential tool for the normalisation of language and the literary system. [3 – CULTURAL HEGEMONY OF ANGLO ­AMERICAN VALUES] DOMINANT Imbalance between what is translated into English from other languages, and what is translated from English into other languages RESISTANCE Representational justice (Liu 2007)  ­Globalization is a threat to cultural and linguistic diversity  ­Need for protecting diversity and heterogeneity [FEMINISMS] What different feminist theories share is an interest in identifying the mechanisms of gender discrimination and the values behind it, as a prior step to proposing alternatives for social equality between women and men. >EXTRATEXTUAL LEVEL 1. Examining the ways in which women are represented in the theoretical discourse of translation (metaphors) ! DOMINANT Metonymic code of twofold inferiority of women and translation (productive/active vs. reproductive/passive) (Chamberlain 1988) E.g. “Because they are necessarily defective, all translations are reputed females” (Florio 1603) E.g. “Les belles infidèles” [lit. the unfaithful beautiful ones]: translations, like women, will be unfaithful if they are beautiful. E.g. Faithfulness, property, rape, penetration, etc ! RESISTANCE Liberating metaphors – a new rhetoric which replaces cliché language with a new terminology 2. Examining the role of women translators in history ! DOMINANT Global tendency to exclude the contributions of women translators and theorists from the historiographical account of the discipline ! RESISTANCE New studies to reveal the contribution of women translators through their critical comments, the strategies employed in their translations, the selection of specific works to be translated, etc. 3. Examining the routes of reception and exportation through translation from a gender perspective (what is translated) ! DOMINANT Global tendency to translate considerably fewer women authors than men authors – so translation is hampering their international diffusion ! RESISTANCE New translations, so as to recover these relevant works by silenced women authors. >TEXTUAL LEVEL 4. Examining the linguistic representation of women and men in the TT, comparing it to the way they were portrayed in the ST DOMINANT Global tendency by which translated texts tend to reproduce (and perpetuate) the dominant values through sexist practices in language, even quite independently of the gender ideology conveyed in the ST. Different degrees: >reproducing in the TT the sexism of the ST >turning a non–sexist ST into a sexist TT >neutralizing/reversing in the TT a explicitly feminist ST [turning a non–sexist ST into a sexist TT] E.g. Rendering all the neuters of the ST as masculines “Male ­As ­Norm Principle in translating genderless forms” or “MAN Principle” (Braun 1997: 3) [TRANSLATION ERRORS] • (EN) “one experiences one’s pregnancy differently (ES) “uno [masc.] vive su embarazo de forma diferente” [lit. one lives one’s pregnancy in a different manner] • (EN) “he’s a very famous gynaecologist. His patients are very happy with him” (ES) “esunginecólogomuyfamoso.Lospacientes[masc.]estánmuycontentosconél” [lit. he is a very famous gynaecologist. The patients are very happy with him]. E.g. Exceptions – gender stereotypes [neutralizing/reversing a explicitly feminist ST] E.g. English translation of Le deuxième sexe (Beavoir 1949) by Howard Parshely in 1951 Consequence!! English ­speaking audience’s definition of Beauvoir as an incoherent and intellectually immature philosopher Consequence! Serious misunderstandings between French and Englihs ­speaking feminists about the ‘same’ text RESISTANT  ­Canadian Feminist Translation (Quebec) (from mid ­80s)  ­Non ­sexist translations of the Bible (70s)  ­Feminist retellings of the Bible (90s)  ­Carol Maier translating the Cuban writer Octavio Armand (1983)  ­Suzanne Jill Levine being a “subversive scribe” when translating Guillermo Cabrera Infante (late 80s)  ­Redefinition of feminist translation practice (Massardier ­Kenney 1997)  ­Non ­sexist language in translation ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/16/2012 for the course SMLM 140 taught by Professor Olgacastro/jonathanevans during the Fall '10 term at University of Exeter.

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