Edited By Carlotta von Maltzan
Rebecca Domingo / Gisela Zipp – Language, Magic and Translation 157
Language, Magic and Translation Rebecca Domingo, Gisela Zipp (Rhodes University) There are many challenges to conquer when navigating the murky waters of literary translation between two immensely different languages and cul- tures. Linguistic issues aside, the conveyance of cultural capital1, within which one can include notions of magic, presents and indeed burdens the translator with interesting difficulties. Literature is a useful entry point into the source culture from which it originates. Kracauer argues that “the films of a nation reflect its mentality in a more direct way than other artistic media” because “films address them- selves, and appeal, to the anonymous multitude”2. In the same way, litera- ture is written by an author with not only his own ideas but with the “anonymous multitude” in mind. As such, it reflects not only a personal opinion but also a cultural viewpoint at a particular point in time. The suc- cess of a novel can also be said to indicate the extent to which it resonates with its public. Kracauer claims that media such as “bestsellers” can “yield valuable information about predominant attitudes [and] widespread inner tendencies.”3 Literature can thus be considered meaningful and for the pur- poses of affording valuable insights into its culture of origin, is worth trans- lating, and most certainly worth translating correctly. When viewed as a “time-bound process”4, the translation of prose must take into account the time and place of the ST. In our particular case, a prose excerpt from Hongloumeng, originally written...
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