N'Zengou-Tayo, Marie-Josť; Wilson, Elizabeth
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Translators on a tight rope: the challenges of translating Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory and Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco
TTR - Traduction, Terminologie, Redaction
Date of Publication
For Caribbean intellectuals and scholars, translation of Caribbean literary texts has a key role to play for breaching the language barriers in the Caribbean and fostering regional integration. However, most publishing houses are located in the industrialized North, countries that once had colonial interests in the region. The targeted market of these publishers is located in a region that tends to regard the Caribbean as being exotic. Hence, translating Caribbean literature can be like walking on a tight rope, since the translator would have to negotiate carefully between exoticism and faithfulness to the Caribbean culture. In addition, at least for the Dutch, French, and English-speaking Caribbean, there is also the issue of bilingualism: use of French in relation with use of Haitian/Martinican/Guadeloupian Creole and use of English with Jamaican /Trinidadian Creole or a French-based Creole (Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia). Against this background, we examined two translations, one from English into French (Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory, 1994), the other from French into English (Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco, 1992). We analyzed the translators' strategies to convey the Haitian and Martinican cultures. We also discussed their rendering of the bilingual shifts present in both texts. One translator was more successful than the other, which also raised the issue of 'scholar' translation versus 'non-scholar' translation. In conclusion, Caribbean academics have to be aware of the translations of literary works of the region since these translations, which do not aim particularly at the regional audience will nevertheless affect cultural relationships in the region.....