On inculturation
Anthony Pym
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Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Plaça Imperial Tàrraco 1
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A basic problem
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Mtuze will not be using words like i-democracy.
Alternatives do exist in Xhosa, he says, and now is
the time to dust them off […]
Professor Ntuli[‘s] translation will veer more towards
everyday Zulu, which means he may use words like idemocracy […]
Antjie Krug, A Change of Tongue (2003: 268)
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First attempt (1992)
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The reason for the material text transfer sets up the
problem to which the translator responds.
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First attempt (1992)
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The reason for the material text transfer sets up the
problem to which the translator responds.
“I want to be part of all the languages of my country.”
“One’s language should never be a dead end. […]
That is why I believe in translation for us to be able to
live together.”
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Second attempt (1998)
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Professional intercultures mark the boundaries.
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Second attempt (1998)
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Professional intercultures mark the boundaries.
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A border:
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Second attempt (1998)
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Professional intercultures mark the boundaries.
“She finds herself in Mandela’s sitting room in
Houghton, Johannesburg, along with the designated
translators of three other editions [all professors],
waiting to discuss the work that lies ahead.”
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Third attempt (2005)
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Translators manage the risks of non-cooperation.
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Third attempt (2005)
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Translators manage the risks of non-cooperation.
“The English book simply uses ‘nephew’ [for the
relation between Mandela and Matanzima], but in
Xhosa there are particular words for every kind of
relation. It takes them almost a quarter of an hour to
work it out.”
“he wants every Zulu to be able to read the book with
ease and enjoyment”
“no bookshop for African languages”
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What I didn’t see…
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Quine: “radical translation, i.e. translation of the
language of a hitherto untouched people”
What is the relation between the jungle linguist and
the native?
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The radical does not exist
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Quine: “a chain of interpreters of a sort can be
recruited of marginal persons across the darkest
achipelago”.
There is always a degree of secondary encoding,
giving relative certitude (Chesterman v. Arrojo)
George William Grace: “Today, this ‘Western’ culture
has expanded to embrace almost the entire world”
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The radical does not exist
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English is not a foreign language.
There is only one culture involved.
Cultures spread through translation, across
languages.
The key element is what is translated.
What was the “dusty” Xhosa word for “democracy”?
What was its concept?
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Inculturation, 1985-1990
“the incarnation of the Gospel in autonomous cultures
and at the same time the introduction of these cultures
into the life of the Church” (John Paul II, Slavorum
Apostoli 1985)
“Through inculturation the Church makes the Gospel
incarnate in different cultures and at the same time
introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into
her own community.” (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio
1990)
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Inculturation, 1994
The people of Israel throughout its history preserved the certain
knowledge that it was the chosen people of God, the witness of
his action and love in the midst of the nations. It took from
neighboring peoples certain forms of worship, but its faith in the
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob subjected these borrowings
to profound modifications [...].The encounter between the
Jewish world and Greek wisdom gave rise to a new form of
inculturation: the translation of the Bible into Greek introduced
the word of God into a world that had been closed to it and
caused, under divine inspiration, an enrichment of the
Scriptures. (Varietates Legitimae 1994)
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Inculturation, 2001
“The work of inculturation, of which the translation into vernacular
languages is a part, is not therefore to be considered an avenue for
the creation of new varieties or families of rites; on the contrary, it
should be recognized that any adaptations introduced out of
cultural or pastoral necessity thereby become part of the Roman
Rite, and are to be inserted into it in a harmonious way.”
(Liturgiam authenticam 2001: 5)
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Inculturation?
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Literature as institution?
Capitalist economies?
IT? (Microsoft?)
Political modernity?
Universities?
Liberal humanism?
Translation Studies?
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Inculturation in Africa
“Inculturation requires acceptance of the fact that God has been at
work in the history of all peoples and that their history is sacred.
Culture is the sacred space of people.” (Mutabazi 2004: 64)
‘It is erroneous to think that Western culture is morally superior to
African culture, and that western customs are consistent with
the Christian faith while African customs are not.” (Mugambi
1989: 197)
‘Technological and scientific success is directly related to cultural
rediscovery.” (Mugambi 1989: 5)
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“Dust-off” democracy?
Does the traditional Xhosa word for “democracy” refer to multiparty, multicultural, multilingual democracy?
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Out-culturation
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Mexican culture
Science fiction (Gouanvic)
The gay novel (Harvey)
Translation Studies?
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Meta-culturation
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The European Court
European bureaucratic prose
(Agent-principle reversal)
Translation Studies?
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Sub-culturation
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MTV culture
You Tube culture
Translation Studies (Leipzig, from Prague and
Bratislava, from Petersburg and Moscow, from Paris
and Berlin… these are not wholly foreign languages)
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The Western translation form?
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Alien-I and assumption of quantitative equality
From a Renaissance based on the myth of equal
languages
Not found in India, China, Vietnam.
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What is translation?