Translation as Negotiation of Identity

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Abhinaba Chatterjee


Since translation is a process of transformation or rewriting of a textual material from one language into another, it is a transformation or rewriting of identity. This recreated identity is tripled .The translator is plagued with three identities: his (subjective or social identity), the writer’s, and the reader’s (role or professional identity); i.e., the Self and the Other. The question is which identity has priority over the other in translation? Given the fact that the translator himself approaches a text with orientation, this requires to search the topic from different perspectives of identity: subjectively, socially and professionally. In case that the translator fails to reach reconciliation between the three identities he may resolve to a translation that is ethnocentric (or centered using domestication strategy), or to a decentered one (using foreignization strategy). This ultimately depends on how the translator approaches the text and the attitude with which he sees himself, target culture, and his profession.

This paper will take up the discussion of identity and especially focus on central notions of Homi Bhabha’s cultural theory and their applicability to Translation Studies. It will attempt to illustrate this in the light of the implications of Bhabha’s key concepts on the phenomenon of translation whereby the term “identity”, notably in the context of translation, has to be re-defined taking particularly into account the practice of “negotiation” conceived of as the continuous production of new meaning.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Translating Difference The other in Other Words