Lost and Found in Translation: Contemporary Ethnic American Writing and the Politics of Language Diversity

By Martha J. Cutter | Go to book overview
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5
The Reader as Translator
Interlingual Voice in the Writing
of Richard Rodriguez, Nash Candelaria,
Cherríe Moraga, and Abelardo Delgado

Chicanos do not function as constantly choice-making speakers;
their language is a blend, a synthesis of the two into a third.
Thus they are interlingual, not bilingual. The codes are not separate,
but intrinsically fused. Juan Bruce-Novoa, Chicano Authors

IN PREVIOUS CHAPTERS of this book, I have examined writers who employ the trope of translation to transcode cultural and ethnic identity and characters who move toward new formulations of voice that transmigrate languages and transcend binary conceptualizations of the relationship between the ethnic and the American. Chicano/a (Mexican American) literature, on the other hand, engages in a more radical translational enterprise because it asks, and at times even forces, not only the character or writer but also the reader to assume a primary role in these processes of translation.1 In the other texts discussed, of course, a reader sometimes encounters “foreign” words that she or he must decipher. Many Chicano/a

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