Academic journal article Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations

Translating Romanian Literature, a Strategy of Intercultural Communication. the Case of Radu Tudoran, a Best-Selling Novelist

Academic journal article Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations

Translating Romanian Literature, a Strategy of Intercultural Communication. the Case of Radu Tudoran, a Best-Selling Novelist

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. Sometimes, the literary destiny of a famous and successful author becomes a brand from the very beginning, if his name and work are mentioned in the literary histories or dictionaries of the time and if his works are translated into international languages. In Radu Tudoran's literary destiny, it was very important that his name was mentioned by George Calinescu in his massive reference book The History of Romanian Literature from the Beginning until the Present (1941). Till 1989 and almost a quarter of a century after the revolution, his works were translated only into the languages of the Eastern communist countries. The paper - which is mainly a bibliographical study - will further discuss the agencies through which transfer from a culture to another is made viable: The factors of culture: Repertoires and other factors; Homogeneity-Heterogeneity; Intercultural contacts: Boundaries, competition, Resistance & Resentment; Agencies of transfer: importers; mediators; solution-makers; Cultural translation. Translating Romanian Literature is a complex and dynamic activity governed by system's relations rather than by a priori fixed parameters of comparative language capabilities.

Keywords: translation; strategy of intercultural communication; Radu Tudoran

1. Translating or Trading? A Strategy of Translating the Works of Romanian Literature

The situation of the international recognition of a marginal literature represents the starting point of any project of spreading its cultural values through professional translations in languages of international circulation. The percent of original literature translated into major languages represents the key of the entrance of the marginal literature into the international circuit of literary values. In the history of the last two centuries, the cultural epochs of the Romanian literature have known aesthetic patterns which marked their evolution, penetration and influence over cultural spaces from abroad. The existence of a cultural strategy in the field of translations presupposes studying, scheduling and developing, in very precise moments of activity, every term of the equation in which are involved the author, literary critics, professional translators associations, promoters of cultural marketing studies, and the public itself. The transfer of cultural information through literary translations is viable, if the action of the agents involved in the process is co-interested. Any culture expressed by a less-used language has a chance of building a cultural strategy for international promotion of its literary products.

This paper points out the comparative historical background of a Romanian prolific novelist of the 20th century, Radu Tudoran (19101992). He is an author of best-sellers, some of which were translated both in the context of the divided European cultural space during his life and after 1990. To reconsider Radu Tudoran through those translations, the present analysis starts mainly from the author's bibliography and the three novel fragments translated into English between 1970 and 2007.

Translating or trading? A well-known literary name emerged at the end of the interwar epoch, banned in the communist epoch for his best-seller novel Un port la räsärit/ A Port in the East (1941), without considering himself a dissident writer, and very rapidly forgotten after his death, Radu Tudoran remains a paradoxical writer. Although he wrote as a best-seller novelist, although he was a refined translator who was not a "court writer" of the socialist regime, his work was less translated into international languages both in the communist epoch and in the transition era after 1989. As an irony of fate, the posterity "forgets" to have Radu Tudoran's works translated. The reason is the absence of a marketing strategy for trading translated books in Eastern Europe.

One of the conclusions dwells on the fact that, in the absence of a coherent strategy for the literary patrimony in the field of translations within a marginal culture, the authors themselves have to invest in the literary translation of their works in order to be read by the public from Western European countries and America. …

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