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Polysystems And Postcolonialism


Polysystems and Postcolonialism by William Wesley Gerrard 02.06.16 ML8101 – INTRODUCTION TO TRANSLATION THEORY – Alternative Assessment – ID: C1473322 CANDIDATE NAME: William Wesley Gerrard STUDENT NUMBER: c1473322 MODULE CODE: ML8101 MODULE TITLE: Introduction to Translation Theory SEMINAR TUTOR: Dr Carlos Sanz-Mingo ESSAY TITLE / COURSEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Polysystems and Postcolonialism – Alternative Assessment WORD COUNT: 1537   It has been argued that unequal power relationships between languages, countries, cultures and polysystems have important implications for translation. Discuss, making reference to at least one approach from lectures, and provide at least one example. Translation is at the heart of international relations, hence power differentials are always abundant as translators work. As Venuti identifies there tends to be a potential violence in the interactions: ‘The violent effects of translation are felt at home as well as abroad. On the one hand, translation wields enormous power in the construction of identities for foreign cultures, and hence it potentially figures in ethnic discrimination, geopolitical confrontations, colonialism, terrorism, war. On the other hand, translation enlists the foreign text in the maintenance or revision of literary canons in the receiving culture, inscribing poetry and fiction, for example, with the various poetic, narrative, and ideological discourses that compete for cultural dominance in the translating language.’ Venuti (2008:14) This essay will explore the relationships between the entities using polysystem theory and also by focussing on postcolonialsim and its effects. In bringing in examples, the differing power relationships between languages will be identified with a particular focus on the role of translators within society. Itamar Even-Zohar Polysystem theory was created by Israeli scholar, Itamar Even-Zohar, in the 1970s, based on the ideas of the Russian Formalists of the 1920s and the Czech structuralists of the 1930s and 1940s. ‘According to Even-Zohar’s model, the polysystem is conceived as a heterogeneous, hierarchized conglomerate (or system) of systems which interact to bring about an ongoing, dynamic process of evolution within the polysystem as a whole.’ Shuttleworth in Baker & Saldanha (2009:197) Translation holds a key role within polysystem theory and the works of translators are at the heart as well as the periphery of the polysystems Even-Zohar identifies: ‘Translation is no longer a phenomenon whose nature and borders are given once and for all, but an activity dependant on the relations within a certain cultural system.’ Even-Zohar (1990:51) Within a polysystem, varying forms of literature and media form separate subsystems, translations having…

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