1887

n Journal of Literary Studies - Translations in the Yard of Africa

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Abstract

In his account of the style in which Pauline Smith represents Afrikaners, her "faux-naïef" translation or transfer from Afrikaans to English, J.M. Coetzee identifies the grammatical error of aspect as evidence that there is no actual Afrikaans original behind the archaic-sounding, ethnicised English : "no-one speaking his own language makes errors of aspect: the time-system of the verb is too fundamental to language, and therefore to conceptualisation for that to happen". Two issues in this position relate to my argument about <I>Disgrace</I> as a text that struggles with translation as concept-metaphor for the postapartheid condition: firstly, the question of an original language Coetzee expects to find behind the English "translation" that claims to retain its trace; and secondly, the grammatical aspect of the perfective that not only preoccupies Lurie, the novel's central character, but also in terms of cultural translation marks the arrival at the target language/culture. In the following examination of the ways in which cultural translation is figured in the text, I also consider the relationship between translation and what has been called the period of transition in South Africa.

In sy relaas van die styl wat Pauline Smith gebruik om Afrikaners voor te stel, haar "faux-naïef" vertaling of oordrag vanaf Afrikaans na Engels, identifiseer J.M. Coetzee die grammatikale fout van aspek as bewys dat daar geen werklike Afrikaanse oorspronklike agter dié argaïese, geëtniseerde Engels is nie: "no-one speaking his own language makes errors of aspect: the time system of the verb is too fundamental to language, and therefore to conceptualisations for that to happen". Twee kwessies in hierdie verband sluit aan by my argument oor <I>Disgrace</I> as 'n teks wat spook met vertaling as konsep-metafoor vir die postapartheid toestand: eerstens, die kwessie van 'n oorspronklike taal wat Coetzee verwag om agter die Engelse "vertaling" te vind, wat aanspraak maak daarop om sy spoor te behou; en tweedens, die grammatikale aspek van die perfektief wat nie slegs vir Lurie, die sentrale karakter in die roman, preokkupeer nie, maar ook in terme van kulturele oordrag die bereiking van die teikentaal/-kultuur kenskets. In die volgende ondersoek van die wyses waarop kulturele vertaling in die teks vergestalt word, neem ek ook die verband tussen vertaling en die sogenaamde oorgangsfase in Suid-Afrika in ag.

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/content/litstud/18/3_4/EJC62343
2002-12-01
2016-12-03
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