Three Translation Theorists:
Lawrence Venuti, “Translation, Community, Utopia”
What is Venuti’s ideal of translation? (inscription of foreign text into domestic intelligibilities and interests, but then subjected to an ethical process of defamiliarization and ideological critique) What problems does he foresee? (486 loss of original context and history)
What does he mean by “domestic remainder”? (487)
How should the language approach the target audience? (489-91) What examples does he provide? (Patrick Creagh’s translation of an Italian novel)
What rationale is given for each of the translations of Camus’s L’Etranger which he cites? How does each reflect its time and target audience? (1942 translation vs. 1988 one, 489-90) How were they differently received? (the first seemed a poor imitation of American fiction; the second evoked its French context and strangeness but also seemed closer to American and French cultural forms)
Can a translation have multiple audiences? (491ff, 494--translation of Italian poet Ungaretti appealed to domestic readership of Italian scholars but also a popular audience which appreciated poetical archaisms in English, as was standard at the time, 492-94--the original had been more hard-edged; this English tradition of language is the domestic “remainder”)
How have these “imagined communities” functioned? (produce cultural, commercial and political effects, 496) How did this affect the translation of Francoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse? (translation added moral judgments) Can you see any parallels between such translations and Jameson's Political Unconscious?
What does Venuti mean by “the utopian dimension in translation”? (498-502, translation projects an imagined community that is not yet realized, anticipatory illumination, 499)
What example does Venuti give of the effects of translation within a hierarchical context? (refugee and interpreter, 501, domestic must include significant part of foreign context; translation aims to enable foreign constituencies to enter the domestic scene, 502)
What are some practical applications of Venuti’s views?
How does Venuti's approach differ from those of Antoine Berman and Lori Chamberlain?
Antoine Berman, "Translation and the Trials of the Foreign"
What does Berman mean by "the trial of the foreign"? (effort to reveal foreign work's most original kernel, even that most distant from itself) What does he feel is the ethical obligation of a translation? (to reveal the foreign as foreign)
How does Berman define the "negative" aspects of his analysis of translation? (free translations, annexationist translations) What are its more positive features? (must translate multiplicities)
What major theorist does he agree with in analyzing prose as composed of many languages? (Bakhtin)
According to Berman, what are the ways in which a translation can violate the original? (rationalization; clarification; expansion; ennoblement and popularization (familiarity); qualitative impoverishment; quantitative impoverishment; the destruction of rhythms, the destruction of underlying networks of signification; the destruction of linguistic patternings; destruction of vernacular networks or their exoticization; the destruction of expressions and idioms; the effacement of the superposition of languages)
Can some of these be justified in some contexts? Would Venuti have entirely agreed with him?
Why is the "restitution of meaning" not the translator's only task?
What are some valuable insights of this essay which can be used to judge the merits of translations?
Lori Chamberlain, “Gender and the Metaphorics of Translation”
According to Chamberlain, what attitude toward the status of translation has characterized past practices? (translators inferior to authors)
What sexual dualities have informed the thinking of past translators? Does she provide evidence from Renaissance and more recent authors? (Thomas Drant, 318)
What conflicts does she believe are exemplified in metaphors about “conquest,” “penetration,” protection, fondness and the like? (between alleged purity of original and the new language, between first language and language of the target audience)
How are issues of translation related to the political sphere? (imperializing, 318) To assumptions about the respective values of production and reproduction? (322)
How does she describe George Steiner’s model for translation? (first trust; then capture or “appropriative penetration;” third “naturalization,” that is, incorporation in the new language; and finally, restitution or reciprocity, to restore the balance with the original language)
What does she believe are Freudian aspects to the translator’s relationship to his/her task? (struggle to claim authority of the father, even to usurp it from the author of the original text, 319-20)
What claims about “women’s speech” seem to have been possible in the 1970s? (now-dated generalizations by Steiner)
In what way may all works of literature be seen as translations? What view does she attribute to Derrida? (all translations both originary and secondary--“productive writing called forth by the original text”)
What conception of translation does Chamberlain advocate? (collaboration, finally utopic) What types of books should women translate? (hostile as well as sympathetic ones, 326)
What practical conclusions should a translator draw from her observations?
Can Chamberlain’s concerns be broadened beyond gender?
Does she believe the status of the translator should equal that of the original author? (not explicit, but would seem the result of her advocacy of greater equality between text and translation)
To what extent might Chamberlain have advocated the translation approaches of Venuti and Berman, and how does she differ from them?