[New publication] Przekładaniec: Special issue on (Post)colonial Translation
Przekładaniec: Special issue on (Post)colonial Translation
Abstract: The article investigates the work of cultural difference in language in the context of translation, specifically as an effect of translation processes within postcolonial literature, and its role in reinforcing postcolonial literature as the world literature in English. Delineating the space of postcolonial literature as that of primary translation, the article investigates how cultural difference travels in interlingual translation of postcolonial literature from English to Polish. In postcolonial literature, cultural difference, which functions as a specific element of otherness/foreignness in the text, reveals the ethical dimension of translation, because it uncovers the presence of other, prior or side-tracked originals making up the text of postcolonial literature. Cultural difference is, thus, the substance of postcolonial literature and nothing less than translation in progress. It is the process of negotiation between the original form/language and a new form in another language, which is the language of the (former) empire. Basic features of postcolonial literature: resistance (Boehmer 2013: 307), counter-discourse (Ashcroft et al. 2000), imitation, mimicry and sly civility (Bhabha, 1994), abrogation and appropriation of the language of the empire (Ashcroft et al. 1989), the triumphant overcoming of peripherality in the “empire writes back” phenomenon (Rushdie 1982), and, last but not least, the marketing of the margins (Huggan 2001) and cultural brokering between peripheries and world capital (Appiah 1991) are also translational practices both in the cultural and linguistic sense. The article proposes to study interlingual translation of postcolonial literature in connection with its paradoxical status of a monolingual (English-dominated) literature, in which cultural difference works as a spectral presence of other languages. In this difficult negotiation between multilingualism and monolingualism, postcolonial literature enacts key problems of translation studies.
Polish-Postcolonial Similarities. Reception of Translated Postcolonial Literature in Poland (1970–2010), by Dorota Gołuch
Abstract: Many studies of postcolonial translation feature analyses of translational and publishing decisions and their potential influences on the relationships between the colonizers and the colonized (e.g. Jacquemond 1992, Tymoczko 1999, Spivak 2009). This article proposes a different methodology, focusing instead on the presence of translated postcolonial literature in Poland through a systematic, discursive study of its reception. Based on the results of an unpublished doctoral study (Gołuch 2013) – which analysed nearly a thousand reviews of African, Indian, Caribbean and Middle Eastern writing, published in the Polish press between 1970 and 2010 – the article demonstrates that Polish reviewers increasingly often affirm Polish-postcolonial similarities, even if Orientalist, othering discourses remain present in the reviews. This finding contributes to timely debates about Polish self-perceptions. Emphasising the otherness or exoticism of postcolonial texts and contexts, the reviewers tend to write from the position of Europeans and to identify with Orientalist biases. Yet, the emerging discourse comparing postcolonial experiences of migration, independence struggle, and post-independence complexes with Poland’s own past and present offers an interesting counterbalance to a long-standing tradition of othering perceptions. Focusing on specific similarities, some reviewers seem to think of Poland and themselves in postcolonial terms. Furthermore, the article contributes to scholarship on Polish postcolonialism. Numerous incisive studies have examined the Partitions of Poland (1795–1918), Nazi occupation (1939–1945) and Soviet domination (1945–1989) in terms of colonisation, at the same time employing postcolonial tools to revisit issues of Polish domination over Belarusians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians, as well as Polish attitudes to non-European colonised peoples (e.g. Thompson 2000, Kłobucka 2001, Cavanagh 2003, Fiut 2003, Bakuła 2006, Janion 2006, Buchholtz 2009, Gosk 2010, Kołodziejczyk 2010, Skórczewski 2013, Wojda 2015). Notably, the themes of Poland’s status as a colonised and colonising country within the immediate region, on the one hand, and Polish perceptions of non-European postcolonial peoples, on the other, tend to be explored separately (cf. Wajda 2015). This article, however, suggests that a Polish postcolonial self-image might be manifesting in response to an encounter with translated postcolonial writing, and generally argues for bringing the two thematic strands together to explore further the interdependencies between Poland’s postcolonialism and Polish attitudes to non-European postcolonials.
Abstract: This article looks at Polish translations of three selected short stories by Rudyard Kipling in order to examine how translation affects the ironic tropes found in those texts. Mateo’s typology of techniques for handling irony in translation (1995) is used to show how this rhetorical device works within the broader cultural and historical context. It appears that the way Polish translators in the early 1900s interpreted irony in contemporary colonial fiction depended on their ability to recognize social problems in the British Empire, to identify the distinctive British sense of humour, and to understand the realities of colonial life. The short stories under discussion are Georgie Porgie, 1888 (translated by Feliks Chwalibóg, 1909), The Limitations of Pambe Serang, 1889 (Feliks Chwalibóg, 1910) and The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes, 1885 (unknown translator, 1900).
Terra sonâmbula Means Lunatyczna kraina: An Introduction to the Reception of Translated Luso-African Prose in Poland, by Jakub Jankowski
Abstract: The aim of this article is to take a closer look at Polish press reviews of Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto, in order to study the novel’s reception. The reviews provide information not only about the assessment of translation quality, but also about the attitude of the target culture towards translated literature. In this case, a novel from a former Portuguese colony, Mozambique, enters the Polish literary system via the ex-metropole, Portugal. The literary systems involved in the transfer are seen as peripheral, which makes the case interesting in the world of postcolonial order. To legitimise the conclusions, a wider context of Mozambican literature will be taken into consideration, as well as the Polish context. Couto’s novel is accepted by the Polish audience as an example of exotic writing. The novel’s paratexts, its translator’s explanations, and the position of Mia Couto in the Polish literary system before the publication of Lunatyczna kraina will be considered as factors informing its reception.
“Polish Up Yourself and Be No Drag:” The Joy and Jeopardy of Reading Anglophone Caribbean Literature in Translation, by Bartosz Wójcik
Abstract: Caribbean literature is still under-represented in Eastern Europe, an error of exclusion that the present paper ventures to discuss. For decades Polish publishers have been understandably replicating metropolitan canons, zig-zagging between European and American bestsellers. It is only when a Caribbean or Caribbean-British writer gains an international distinction (Walcott, Naipaul) or becomes a worldwide publishing sensation (Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy) that their books are translated. Exceptions to this rule, such as the solitary Polish editions of Caryl Phillips’ A Distant Shore (Muza, 2006), Monique Roffey’s The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Nasza Księgarnia, 2011) and Kei Miller’s The Last Warner Woman (Świat Książki, 2012), or single Francophone Caribbean novels, are few and far between. Arguably, it seems that this politics of translation and publishing stems from the systemic, colonially foisted peripherality of West Indian literature, side-lined by the cultural production of the UK as well as the USA, which dominates the curricula of English departments in more culturally homogeneous countries such as Poland. However, what constitutes a major problem for the dissemination (and popularity) of Caribbean Creole literature in Polish is exactly what makes West Indian writing so engaging, multi-layered, polyphonous and intertextual—it is the cultural component (for instance, the translation of “Creole folkways”) that is often misread, misconstrued and, as a consequence, mis-rendered. For that reason, using a number of literary sources, the present paper will attempt to showcase a selection of translatological strategies for coping with, to quote Benjamin Zephaniah, “decipher[ing]/de dread chant” into Polish.
Narratives with No Need for Translation?” – Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (2012) and David Hare (2014), by Aleksandra Kamińska
Abstract: Katherine Boo’s award-winning non-fiction book (2012) and David Hare’s play Behind the Beautiful Forevers (2014) are set in a Mumbai slum called Annawadi. They tell a story of one family’s struggle with the Indian judiciary system, describing the life in a Mumbai slum in the process. The article purports to analyse the translation element of Boo’s narrative, as well as the book’s translation (Polish translation by Adrianna Sokołowska-Ostapko) and adaptation (Hare’s play). The first part of the article is focused on various shifts occurring in those secondary texts. Special attention is paid to ideological consequences and motivations of various decisions, which, consequently, leads to the question about the oppressive potential of translation (inspired by theories of Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak). The second part of the article deals with the fact that although translation remains an essential and obvious component of Behind the Beautiful Forevers for all three authors (Boo, Hare, and Sokołowska-Ostapko), this issue has been largely neglected (or misrepresented) by readers and critics. This, in turn, leads to the question (based on Itamar Even-Zohar’s polysystem theory) to what extent the case of Behind Beautiful Forevers can be interpreted as a product of various forces conditioning the scope and future of postcolonial translation.
Abstract: The article focuses on Kaytek the Wizard, the English translation of Janusz Korczak’s children’s classic Kajtuś czarodziej, originally published in Poland in 1933. Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, the book came out in English with the New York-based Penlight Publications in 2012, almost eighty years after the original publication. The article begins with an overview of the theoretical context of translating children’s literature, with regard to issues such as censorship, political correctness, and ideological manipulations. It demonstrates that contentious passages have often been mitigated, in order to create a commercially or ideologically “appropriate” text, for example in the former countries of the Eastern Bloc, in Spain, or in the contemporary United States. It then describes the context of the publication of the English version of Korczak’s novel, shedding light on the roles of the copyright holder and translation commissioner, the publisher and the translator, and also mentioning the English language reviews of the translation in literary journals. Following that, the article examines the translator’s treatment of the original expressions and passages concerning racial issues, which would be considered racist today. These include references to Africans as “savages,” “apes” or “cannibals,” a reflection of the European racial stereotypes of that period. It is demonstrated that, in her treatment of such lexical items, the translator adopted a middle course, retaining some of the contentious passages but also partly omitting and toning down other controversial examples in question. The article also reflects on the role of, and constraints on, the literary translator, who may be confronted with the ethical dilemma of either respecting the integrity of the original, and recreating the collective consciousness of a bygone era, or appropriating the original text, through eliminating passages which negatively portray blacks, so as to better adapt it to the target context of multicultural American society.
Abstract: When a work of European literature is translated into Arabic, the language of a predominantly Islamic culture, terms referring to Arabs as a people or Muslims as a religious community, the name of Muhammad as the Prophet of Islam, etc., cease to be foreign and exotic, to become local and familiar. The present analysis of contemporary Arabic translations of Dante’s La Divina Commedia, Cervantes’ Don Quijote and Scott’s Ivanhoe, shows that these elements are not always simply returned to their native culture if the original text represents them in a negative, Eurocentric way, which can even be considered blasphemous by Muslims, but are subject to more or less significant ideologically motivated transformations. Instead of straightforward restitution to the native culture, what takes place is a kind of annexation of texts which consists in replacing the negatively portrayed “Other” by a positively, or at least neutrally, represented “We.” Such manipulations may be explicit, i.e. signalled in footnotes, or tacit. In some cases, anti-Islamic passages become even sympathetic towards Islam when translated into Arabic. In this way the authors of Arabic translations liberate the texts from the dominating Western perspective and adapt them to their own vision of the world. What appears as manipulation and censorship from the “Western” point of view may be perceived in an entirely different manner inside the Arabo-Islamic culture, for instance as a correction of obvious factual errors.
About the journal:
Przekładaniec is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal which investigates translation as a literary genre, a craft and a form of intercultural communication. We publish papers in theoretical, descriptive and applied translation studies. Our contributors include scholars from a variety of disciplines: translation theory and history, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology of translation, literary criticism, comparative literature, history of literature, modern languages, classical studies, feminist studies, linguistics, Polish studies. Our themed issues encourage both theoretical reflection and exchanges between practitioners. Our “Varia” section features work from outside particular themes. Our “Reviews” section presents recent publications, especially books published in languages other than English. The official language of Przekładaniec is Polish; however, our journal is not restricted to Polish language and literature. Contributions in other languages are welcome. English versions of selected issues are available online.
Przekładaniec was awarded the most prestigious Polish prize for promoting research in Translation Studies, Lexicography and Comparative Literature: The “Literature in the World” Prize in 2008. (Nagroda Literatury na Świecie).
Link to the journal main page: http://www.ejournals.eu/Przekladaniec/