China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: “The Sinophone, in short, is polyphonic and multilingual.” (Shih 2013, 10) Sinophone literatures from Southeast Asia echo exactly these qualities of polyphony and heteroglossia in a Bakhtinian sense as the authors incorporate their own languages and topolects or confront language barriers within their texts.
In this panel we will discuss how translation can be both a threat to and an opportunity for Sinophone polyphony. As texts are often translated into the dominant, standardized language, translations tend to silence multilingualism and suppress heteroglossia. Yet, translations can also serve to enrich literary offerings accessible within a dominant, standardized language system, encouraging literary polyphony by shifting literature beyond a canon. Therefore, we ask, how heteroglot can a translation be, and how can we, as translators, express language diversity in translations?
By analyzing Sinophone primary texts, such as short stories and poems, from Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand with a proposal for a translation, we will illustrate how heteroglossia as a way of expressing (cultural) identity itself can be translated. Since many of these writers migrated from one place to another more than once, they not only often reflect on their journeys but also on their new home experience, which frequently includes adapting to a new environment, culture, and language. Using their “original voices” by writing in and about their languages/topolects, they express different facets of their identity and give the reader a glimpse into their diverse experiences as Sinophone writers.
Virtual Paper Presenter: Simona Gallo – University of Bergamo
Virtual Paper Presenter: Paul Giang
Virtual Paper Presenter: Rebecca Ehrenwirth – University of Applied Sciences/SDI Munich