This volume stands at the intersection of children’s literature studies and translation studies. Borrowing from stylistics and sociology, it engages with a phenomenon which has reached its full scope over the 20
Retranslation in Afrikaans children’s literature
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Translations of children’s literature can assume either a primary or a secondary position in the literary polysystem: “[…] translated texts may play either an innovative and formative or a more conservative role in the target culture. At one extreme, translated literature may have no discernible impact at all on the target system, whilst at the other extreme translation may be a crucial factor in literary renewal.”1 According to Itamar Evan-Zohar, translations of children’s literature can assume a primary position in and make an active contribution to the centre of a system if the literary system is young and makes use of existing models, if the literary system is weak and assumes a marginal position in the world system, and/or if a void exists in the literary system.2
In most first-world countries, the translation of children’s literature assumes a secondary position; i.e. it does not have a discernible impact on the target system and it is mainly used either to inspire writers and illustrators, to expose young readers to international trends (e.g. best-sellers and award-winning books) or to promote multicultural awareness. In Afrikaans children’s literature, which is a much younger and weaker system than, for instance, the French or the English literary systems, translations have always assumed a primary position. Translations of canonized English and Dutch texts especially form the basis of Afrikaans children’s literature. For example, most of the nursery rhymes that are part of...
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