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

By Martha J. Cutter | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION

1. Of course, as Pérez Firmat also points out through the examples of Desi Arnaz and Gloria Estefan, the conga can also degenerate into an art form that merely reproduces stereotypes about Cuban culture and makes it palatable for an American audience. See Life on the Hyphen53–56, 127–33.

2. Throughout this book I use the term “American” (in quotes) to refer to a person who predominantly identifies himself or herself with a white, Anglo-Saxon, monolingual culture. I use American (without quotes) to refer to people who inhabit the United States.

3. Support for translation as producing a new work of art can be found in Gress 55 and Barnstone 10–11. G. N. Devy also discusses this idea in “Translation Theory: An Indian Perspective” (68). Benjamin dissents (76–77).

4. In translation theory, “source text” refers to the text to be translated and “target text” refers to the translation.

5. As Monica Heller observes, codeswitching sometimes works to maintain “the separation of languages in different domains” (Introduction 6). This is not to deny that codeswitching can dismantle the boundaries between languages in some circumstances. In this book, however, I have used “translation” rather than “codeswitching” because I see it as a more capacious term for the attempt to find a new mode of language and identity that goes beyond dualism and “either/ or” paradigms. When characters codeswitch in such a way that they combine elements of both languages in a syncretic fashion, I have used the term “translation.” For example, in Chapter 5 I argue that Cherríe Moraga codeswitches in order to create a syncretic third language which is made up of both English and Spanish but which also exceeds these two languages. I examine the topic of codeswitching in more detail in Chapters 4 and 5.

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