Sneak Peek 17: Trish Van Bolderen

From One-Man Show to Stage Manager: Self-translators and “Minority” Literatures in Canada

Trish Van Bolderen

University of Ottawa

Abstract: Canada is home to numerous authors who translate their own writing, and a considerable proportion of these self-translators work into, out of, and sometimes between, “non-official” languages, contributing to and defining many of the exiguous (Paré) enclaves that characterize the Canadian literary landscape. In this paper, I examine the key roles played by contemporary self-translators in positioning the so-called minority literatures they belong to. Agency—which, in discussions about self-translation, is almost inevitably bound to the subjects themselves, who are typically perceived as anomalous, self-sufficient figures perpetually located at centre stage—moves well beyond the individual, as these self-translators are also busy behind the scenes. Drawing predominantly on data from Italian- and Hispanic-Canadian literatures, I address how self-translation operates as part of a larger literary and identity-based project, and how there seems to be a meaningful correlation between these writers who self-translate and those who drive and sustain exiguous literatures.

Bio: Trish Van Bolderen is currently completing her PhD in Translation Studies at the University of Ottawa, where she is researching self-translation practices in Canada. She has co-authored two encyclopedic entries on self-translation: one, with Rainier Grutman, for the Companion to Translation Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014); the other, with Eva Gentes, for Oxford Bibliographies: Latino Studies (Oxford University Press, 2015).