Focalisation in the translation/rewriting of narrative texts : A.P. Brink's Imaginings of sand/Sandkastele / Jan Louis Kruger
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Narrative fiction presents translators with a particular challenge due to the subtle shifts in focalisation complicated by factors such as embedded narratives and hypothetical focalisation. Furthermore, the gaps and traces that arise from the (often) covert nature of shifts in focalisation necessitate meticulous analyses. In this study the role of focalisation in the translation of narrative texts is therefore investigated in terms of the various markers that foreground aspects related to focalisation. The theoretical position of this study is informed by Derrida's notion of the play of the trace evident in différance. It is shown that différance offers a productive potential rather than an obstacle or barrier to translation; translation does not fix the same meaning, but creates new avenues for further difference. In other words, translation activates hidden traces, ensuring the survival of the original text at the same time that the translation issues forth from it. The relationship between source text and target text is further regarded not as a hierarchical relationship, but as a contract in which the texts rely on each other without one having final priority over the other. The two texts involved in this contract are therefore regarded as constantly becoming in a symbiotic relationship of rewriting. In order to address the gaps and traces in narrative texts, focalisation is redefined as an "impostulatory" technique (a term coined to address the proprietary relationships in and surrounding narrative texts). The most important implication of this redefinition is that focalisation always proceeds through the only narrative origo in a narrative text, from which and through which and into which the narrative is actualised or activated or narrativised from an extratextual position by author and reader. A.P. Brink's parallel texts, lmaginings of sand/Sandkasle/e, are then used in illustration of the above theoretical concepts. In particular, the novel is analysed in terms of deictic, subjective and characterising markers of focalisation. The two texts are also compared to each other, as well as to my own translation based on the analysis of these markers. These analyses and comparisons indicate that focalisation indeed plays an important role in the translation of narrative texts, particularly in relation to microtextual shifts that impact on the macrotext. On the basis of these findings, a model is proposed for the translation of narrative texts based on a view of focalisation as impostulatory technique evident primarily in markers of subjectivity, but also incorporating the more overt markers of deixis and the markers of characterisation.
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