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In this book, Jenni Ramone draws on contemporary translation theory to analyse the part translation plays in Rushdie's appropriation of historical and contemporary Indian narratives of independence and migration.

Using Rushdie's texts as starting points, Ramone is able to illustrate how Rushdie constantly uses and develops ideas of translation in his narrration. Similarly, she evokes the applicability of the theories from the textual sources. This is a remarkable work deeply engaged with studies of Rushdie as well as translation theory. Undoubtedly this will become one of the more useful resources for scholars interested in Rushdie and translation alike.

She utilises her exceptional grasp of canonical and current debates in both translation studies and postcolonial theory to explore how the play of translation is a constant concern in Rushdie's writing, allowing not only for new light to be shed on the major works, but also invaluable interpretation of less critically attended works like the early Grimus and the memoir Joseph Anton but also his short stories and writing for children. As marketing strategies, these forms of adaptation are essentially superficial characteristics with respect to the core product, and this, I think, shows the falsity of the local-global antithesis which has been given much mileage of late.

Postcolonial Translation: Theory and Practice, 1st Edition (Paperback) - Routledge

We could say that in some sense there is no local any more, in the way that you could once have local experiences which were almost entirely unmediated by anything beyond their own boundaries. In my own field, that of Postcolonial Studies broadly conceived, there is much talk of location, as in the title of Homi K. The meanings of culture are determined by their locational parameters. In this sense, localization could be seen as antithetical to the idea of translation, which will always attempt to cross borders, to convey meanings beyond the local contexts in which they have been developed.

Of course that does not prevent a translator attempting to preserve localized elements in a text, however paradoxical that may be given that a translation will always deprive the local of its local specificity. RY: In the heyday of deconstruction, particularly with Paul de Man, there was much talk about the impossibility of translation in general [3].

Homi Bhabha: Translation and Displacement

First of all I would say that very few texts are untranslatable as such—they are simply less translatable or harder to translate. They are, in other words, at the extreme of the scale.

1st Edition

The untranslatable text is the text in which there are simply too many things going on. So are we saying that the totality of the poem is untranslatable or that the individual element is untranslatable? The paradox of translation theory, in my view, is that theorists move in their discussions about translation between texts written in different languages with the implicit assumption that there can be perfect translations. TC: In what sense might one assert that an original text has an identity?

Postcolonial Translation Theory

RY: Identity is a fluid concept, much over-used in our own time. Its only serious meaning, in my view, is its legal reference. There is much talk, for example, of all identities being constructed, but the simple fact is that my own identity, starting with my birth certificate, passport and the like, are official documents constructed for me by the state. Beyond that, identity means something more like sense of self, and of course we all feel different at different times—between being a professor and being a parent, for example, but I am not sure these are different identities.

To say that the fact that we play different roles at different moments in our lives means that we have different identities is somewhat facile and betrays a lack of understanding about what identity involves. Texts perform different roles on different occasions in different contexts.


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The question of identity becomes more interesting with respect to translation. Once we translate a text, the question becomes whether the text still has the same identity in some way—so that, for example, we can discuss the translated text as if it is identical to the original. All questions of translation in some sense pose the question of identity. For countries that were colonized, it means dealing with the aftermath and the debris of colonial rule, institutional, economic, material, cultural and psychic.

For countries that were formerly or indeed remain colonial powers—all Western European countries with the exception of Norway though even there the Norwegian Lutherans were involved in forms of colonialism , as well as Russia, China and Japan, together with countries that arguably continue colonialism in different modalities, above all the United States the United States is both an imperial and formerly colonized power , it means deconstructing and revising their own cultures and historical narratives with respect to their own values, assumptions and hierarchies that were developed in the colonial period, and adjusting their own cultures to accommodate the migrants who have now brought the empire home, so to speak, and come to live in the formerly imperial centre.

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