Two-way minorness: Spanish ↔ Catalan self-translation in Spanish republican exile
Lucía Azpeitia Ortiz
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Abstract: Current external approaches to self-translation draw from sociolinguistics and sociology of literature to emphasize structural hierarchies between languages and literatures. Popular ways to conceptualize self-translation between Spanish and Catalan include dichotomies like transparent and opaque (Dasilva, 2011), inter-state and intra-state (Ramis, 2014), and infra and supra vertical self-translations (Grutman, 2016).
These concepts are suitable for most research into contemporary Catalan ↔ Spanish self-translation, which highlights conflict, asymmetry, and the subordination of Catalan. However, it remains unclear if the aforementioned conceptual frameworks provide a satisfactory account for more peripheral and dynamic situations –namely, exile.
Thus, this paper will test prevalent approaches on the self-translational project carried out by Catalan writer Agustí Bartra during his political exile in Mexico (1940-1968). Bartra was clearly unique among the numerous exiled Catalan writers in America by producing a significant corpus of bilingual works, self-translated from Catalan to Spanish and vice versa.
His case transcends the anecdotal to suggest more complex, displaced patterns of minorness that might challenge static notions, since the relationship between Spanish and Catalan in Mexico cannot be conceived in the same terms as in Spain. Furthermore, Bartra’s minorness was double, or two-way: on returning to Catalonia in the early 70s, reception of his works underwent another readjustment –his oeuvre in Spanish being neglected. So, depending on the reception standpoint, conflicting parts of his self-translations could be considered minor.
This paper aims to explore the need to complement self-translation theoretical models with historical perspective. The expected benefits include more accurate descriptions of self-translational phenomena, questioning of modern views and deeper understanding of their roots and evolution (Gürçalar, 2013).
Key-words: self-translation, contemporary Catalan literature, Spanish republican exile, diglossia
Bio: Lucía Azpeitia Ortiz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpretation, and a Master’s degree by research in Translation Studies. She specialized in literary translation and reception studies. She is currently a PhD student and teaching assistant at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain). Her PhD project deals with Catalan writer Agustí Bartra’s self-translations between Catalan and Spanish. In 2017, she has received a predoctoral scholarship from the Generalitat de Catalunya.