12/01/16 Discussion Questions

The article points out how elitist mimetic translations can be because they only appeal to a small subsection of the population who can understand two languages and appreciate the intricacies and the word play of the translation. How can mimetic translations be made more accessible to a wider range of audiences?

Sacrificing Sense to Sound

  • Puns place sounds above meaning
  • Because wordplay often resists translation, it seems important to situate a translation and discuss the importance of the ideological/cultural context which makes wordplay translation more or less possible
  • Sound imitation produces a text that reproduces or riffs on the sounds of the source version
  • Mimetic translation
  • Radically alters but also enriches the original text
  • Translation sounds foreign
  • Mimetic translation strategies allow readers to experience the foreign in their own language
  • the reader is made aware that there can always be another version
  • Interlinguistic paranomasias
  • Wordplay across languages
  • Foregrounds figurative aspect of language
  • Can feel the foreigness but its not gibberish
  • Catallus poem
  • Mother goose rhymes and Nursery rhymes
  • Sound of the original text outweighs its semantic content
  • Mimetic translations are meant to be performed
  • Concept of fidelity does not include fidelity to sound.
  • Mimetic translation focuses on sound
  • Oral- by word of mouth; spoken rather than written.
  • Aural- of or relating to the ear or the sense of hearing.
  • For the uninitiated in feminist thought/writings, it is probably easier to listen to than it is to read
  • Desirable to privilege sound over sense, or view sound as sense
  • Sonorous plot- weave that is created when one phoneme leads by homophony to the next and the sound of the word, not their syntax, make the textual connections
  • Vertiginous effect that such language can have on the reader
    • Cause a certain anxiety through its confounding spiral of tension
  • Coincidence of graphic similarities
  • Dislocation of language is an important focus of experimental writing of the period
  • Mimetic translations do not render the source text’s communicative value or functioning as a medium between the source text and the reader of the target text
  • Is elitist
  • Transllating it was important
    • Bring new life to the more socio-critical images of women approach of anglophone feminisms
    • Demonstrate the new theoretical directions of Canadian work
  • Accompany translations with notes that justify, explain, or contextualize
    • Domesticating strategies implemented in the metatext

11-29-16 Discussion Questions

Gillam wants feminist text made meaningful and accessible for the translating culture. We have spoken often in this class about what makes a text considered to be meaningful. Some theorists believe that it is the act of translation itself that makes a text meaninful, others that the text has staying power. For Gillam, it seems that the accessibility factor is derived from the translation but the meaningfulness comes from somewhere else.

What does Gillam mean by “meaningful”? How does she propose to achieve this? Does she agree with some of the translators who believe in inserting feminist discourse into their translations?

Dis-Unity and Diversity

  • Survival of feminist translations depend on
    • Responsibility-  the ability to respond
    • Desirability- the ability to desire
    • Criticism
  • Lack of criticism is dead silence, either deliberate or due to lack of interest or apathy
  • Will explore current dis-unity and those factors underlying that state of affairs
  • Diversity is a desirable result
    • So dis-unity is good
  • Differences between women have been recognized and brought to bear in critical discourses
    • Non-reductive differentiation is doubly present
  • Feminist thinkers must acknowledge three things to avoid generalizations:
    • Identity politics- the writer/critic’s identity has an effect on their perceptions and writing
    • Positionality- the effect of this identity is relativized by institutional, economic, and other factors
    • Historical Dimension- perceptions/interests/topics change with the times as does identity
  • Issues
    • Shoddy mainstream English translations of third world women’s texts
    • Elitist and inaccessible work which has little to do with the socio-political concerns often ascribed to Anglo-American feminists
    • Theoretical incoherence and hypocrisy in feminist translation and feminist critique of patriarchal theories
  • Spivak
    • With-it translatese serves to construct a largely misrepresentative view of third-world women’s texts
    • Disregards rhetoricity
    • Focuses on accessibility to North/West
    • Obscures the difference between women of different/ differently empowering cultures
    • Deprives texts of style
    • Appropriation, misrepresentation, and salving of guilty consciences
  • Translations produced from feminist perspective can become way too elitist
  • Some translators assume the right to intervene on a political level
    • Change the politics
    • Change the violence
    • Generalized references to post-structuralist theories as justified travesties
  • We should just try and be open about and forgive our infidelities in translating
  • Gillam vs. Spivak
    • Gillam- wants feminist text made meaningful and accessible for the translating culture and its feminist activists of all kinds
    • Spivak- translations that popularizes women’s work by producing accessible texts as another form of imperialism
  • English is the dominant language of translation
  • Nicole Jouve Ward- No one who writes today can or should forget their race and their gender
  • Identity politics acknowledges the academic’s personal interests and needs
  • Positionality relativizes the situation by making identity relative to a constantly shifting context
  • Historical dimension as a concept of gendered subjectivity without pinning it down one way or the other all the time
    • Makes gendered subjectivity change with the times and the political and institutional constellations
  • Feminist work in translation theory continues to expand throughout the 1990s


11-15-16 Discussion Questions

Venuti says that the translators make omissions because they wish to become more like the original writers.  What could other reasons be that would make the translator unconsciously challenge the writer? Does it all have to stem out of a repressed desire to be something more?

This theory also opens up more questions about the hierarchy of writing and made it rather clear that the translator is seen as lower because they are not the creator of a work. How can that misconception be changed?

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