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Translating bilinguality : Theorizing translation in the Post-Babelian era
The Translator : Studies in Intercultural Communication
  • Tak Hung, Leo CHAN, Department of Translation, Lingnan University
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Journal article
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Translation is often defined as interlingual transfer, with correspondences sought between two languages. But what if the original text is written in more than one language? This paper addresses a number of situations where bilinguality impacts the translation process & problematizes conventional concepts of translation. Several categories of examples are discussed. The first of these involves texts (by Tolstoy & Hemingway) into which isolated stretches of a second language are incorporated. Then, there are fictional works where a second language is extensively deployed, but is already translated for the reader. Examples are works by Buck, Clavell, & Maugham, where Chinese characters are made to speak English & the novelists have to play the role of translators. Finally, there are postmodern texts wherein the author inhabits, as it were, two linguistic realms: those of his or her mother tongue & the acquired tongue. The discussion here will revolve around two distinct groups of writers: those who are competent in more than one language & blend the features of two or more languages in their work (like James Joyce), & those who are proficient in one language but have mother-tongue knowledge of another (like Maxine Hong Kingston). A close examination of works by the last category of writers in translation reveals the limits of existing translation theories, which are based on a bilingual one-to-one model & do not take into consideration features of "interlinguality" & "intralinguality" within texts. 42 References. Adapted from the source document

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Copyright © 2002 St Jerome Publishing, Manchester.

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Chan, L. T. (2002). Translating bilinguality: Theorizing translation in the post-babelian era. The Translator, 8(1), 49-72. doi: 10.1080/13556509.2002.10799116