When Self-Translation (from Basque) Crosses Paths with Heterolingualism
Garazi Arrula Ruiz
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)
Abstract: Approaches to self-translation generally focus on powerful language pairs where asymmetric relation has little to say. In approaching self-translation from an unequal status of languages’ perspective, where Basque coexists with two dominant languages (French or Castilian), projection and limitations of symbolically/socially minorised language and culture could be taken into account. Indeed, self-translation in the Basque Country relies on an endogenous bilingualism (Grutman 2013: 41) and almost all literary self-translations regarding Basque are supra self-translation (Grutman 2011).
As all Basque writers are at least bilingual, self-translation has become the cheapest and easiest way to spread their work to bigger literary markets. In some cases the self-translated work is presented and received as an original in the target literary system (Manterola 2013: 63). When there is no mention to the source text or translator, linguistic identity may be vanished, reinforcing the “dominant-dominated” model (Casanova 2002: 8). In addition, some authors write in Basque considering the idea of (self-)translation, and that knowledge necessarily condition creativity and identity projection in the first (Basque) writing process, as they tend to place in both literary systems, things that would generally cause neutralization of the initial text (Arrula Ruiz 2017).
In a highly globalized world, we could hardly speak of monolingual/monocultural agents, since references, translations and interrelationships are increasing, although often still implicit (Santoyo 2014: 219); as a result, the study of heterolinguism has received great academic attention in recent years. After briefly analyzing the sociolinguistic and the quantitative situation of literary self-translation in Basque, I will focus on the qualitative study of heterolinguism. Based on a parallel digital corpus of ten prose works written in Basque and their fourteen self-translations into Castilian/French, I will try to trace some general tendencies with respect to the self-translation of heterolinguism in a subordinate context such as Basque language/culture.
Keywords: self-translation, Basque literature, diglossia, heterolinguism, corpus-based.
Garazi Arrula Ruiz is a 4th-year Ph.D student at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), where she works on “Self-translation’s theory and practice in the Basque Country”. She studied Translation and Interpretation and then obtained a M.A in Linguistics. She translated several literary texts into Basque, by authors such as Anaïs Nin, Walter Benjamin, Amélie Nothomb and Francis Scott Fitzgerald.