Translation and Gender
Translating in the 'Era of Feminism'
Publication Year: 1997
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Series: Perspectives on Translation
Title Page, Copyright Page
This work on gender and translation has developed out of my interests in feminist explorations of gender as a cultural construct and in translation as cultural transfer. Over the past thirty years, and as a result of the women's movement, gender issues have become entangled with issues of language. Over the same period, translation studies has developed as a part of the...
1. Historical Background
When Simone de Beauvoir wrote in 1949 "on ne nait pas femme, on le devient" and when E.M. Parshley translated this in 1953 as "one is not born, but rather becomes a woman", both Beauvoir and Parshley were talking about gender. Though the term did not actually come into use at the time...
2. Gender and the Practice of Translation
The work of translating in an 'era of feminism', in an era powerfully influenced by feminist thought, has had an acute effect on translation practice. First, translators have sought out contemporary women's writing in order to translate it into their own cultures. Because of the experimental nature of much of this work, they have had to deal with...
3. Revising Theories and Myths
Feminist influence on translation and translation studies is most readily visible in the metatexts - the statements, theoretical writings, prefaces and footnotes that have been added to work published since the late 1970s. In these texts a noticeable trend is the developing sense of self exhibited by translators, increasingly aware that their identities as...
4. Rereading and Rewriting Translations
Feminist initiatives of the 1970s triggered enormous interest in texts by women writers from other cultures. This led to the realization that much writing by women has never been translated at all, and to the suspicion that what has been translated has been misrepresented in 'patriarchal translation'. Thus extensive translation and re-translation activity was set off, for which...
The criticisms that have been addressed to feminist approaches to translation and translation studies can be divided into two general types: those that reflect positions outside feminism and favour an 'objective' approach to scholarship and writing, and those that come from within the widening boundaries of feminism and support the view that gender makes...
6. Future Perspectives
Recent work in cultural studies is introducing issues of gender into the discussions on colonialism (McClintock 1995), on orientalism (Lewis 1996) and examining them in the light of constantly changing political affiliations (Funk & Mueller 1993). Gender thus remains fertile ground for research in the human sciences. New avenues of thought have been...
7. Concluding Remarks
The intersection of feminist work on gender and translation studies comes at a time when the field of cultural studies is the focus of much academic interest. Yet work in cultural studies tends to reserve the concept of translation for metaphorical use to describe the increasingly global aspects of cultural production and the situation of those who are exiled,...