I have always been interested in how far translators can take adaptation, and to what extent we can justify such an approach when translating poetry and prose into English. Can we simply take inspiration from the source text without being restricted by its style and content? In my research on the translation of Francophone African literature, I found that translation strategies in an African context were much more fluid and perhaps less rigid than in the North. Many African texts written in French are also highly embedded in orality with a strong performance element, so it could be more fitting to take a more flexible approach to their translation and pursue an African (rather than French) model of textual rewriting. This article in The Linguist explores these ideas in more depth, with examples from Francophone African poetry.
Published by Georgina Collins
Award-winning freelance writer and translator.
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