Global-Local Translation FlowsToward an Ethics of Reciprocity TRANSLATION AND CULTURAL MEDIATION International Mother Language Day UNESCO 22-23 February 2010 Annie Brisset University of Ottawa email@example.com
UNESCO World Report Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue‹http://unesco.org/tools/fileretrieve/1238a682.pdf› Study of world translation flows & practices UNESCO/IATIS partnership Research Question: Does translation contribute to cultural diversity ?
Selection criteria • Representative language situations • official • minority • indigenous • transborder languages • multilingual states • Geographic distribution: Africa , Americas, Arabic world, Asia-Pacific, India, Central & Eastern Europe
Objectives • Update statistics (Heilbronn: 1999) • Identify patterns and trends • Asymmetries and problem areas ? • New or innovative practices ? Recommendations / Future policies
Sources - Unesco Index Translationum - Other (e.g. national book centers) • Translation flows • Intranslations (from foreign languages) • Extranslations (into foreign languages) - Internal translations (e.g. within multilanguage states)
Index Translationum • Cumulative bibliography of published transl. from 1979 to Nov. 2007 – last available update at time of study • Data originate from about 100 member states • ~ 1, 700, 000 entries [translated books] • ~ 250, 000 authors • ~ 800 languages registered out of existing 6,000
SOURCE LANGUAGES (SL)in relation to all registered translations • Top 20 SL = 96% • Other languages =4%
16of top 20 source languages are European • 75% of all books are translated from 3 languages: • English, French, German • English : source language of 55% of all transl.
Top Target Languages (TL) • Top 20 TLamountto nearly 90% of all transl. • 18 are European languages + Japanese, Korean • Top 5 TL account for 50% of all translations • 40% of all books are translated into 3 languages • 6.4%into English [55% from English ] • 6.1% into Japanese • Arabic and Chinese absent from top 20
Translation: An obstacle to cultural diversity? 2 case studies • Minority languages and literatures • Indigenous languages
1. Minority Literatures in Translation The case of Azerbaijan • One of the former Transcaucasian Soviet Republics • At crossroads of Eastern Europe & Southwest Asia • Borders with Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran • Bounded by Caspian Sea to the East • Capital : Baku • Exclave : Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic located in Armenia, borders with Iran and Turkey
Impact of History :4 different scripts • Arabic until 1926 • Latin script in 1926 • Cyrillic in 1939 (Stalin’s integration policy) • Latin script reinstated in 1991
AZ Contemporary History of Translation • 3 periods : Pre-Soviet, Soviet, Post-Soviet • Predominance of translation into Azerbaijani • AZ language & literature little known outside the country • Lack of foreign experts interested in + capable of translating from AZ into their own language • Lack of State policy & funding to support translation & publication of AZ works abroad
Pre-Soviet periodTranslations from AZ into foreign languages • Mostly in the 19th century : Orientalist movement • Main works translated: originally written in Persian - epics (Book of Dede Korkut, 8th c., Koroghlu ) - poetry (Gulistan, 13th c.) & folk tales • Nizami (12th c. poet, author of Leila and Majnun) • Main target languages: German, Russian, Engl., Fr., Polish
Pre-Soviet PeriodTranslations into Azerbaijani • Early AZ translations of great Persian poets (e.g. Khayyam, Sa’di, Hafiz) • Interest in translation from Western languages started in the 19th c. • Russian: dominant source language Russian writers (notably Pushkin, Lermontov) primarily selected for translation
Soviet period (1920-1991)Translations from Azerbaijani • Few & mostly into Russian or through Russian + into other languages of the Soviet Union • Lack of foreign translators with command of Azerbaijani Russian translations were used as source texts • Some of the most prominent AZ writers wrote in Russian
Soviet period (1920-1991)Translations into Azerbaijani • Intensive & planned by Soviets - Translations ordered and paid by State - Controlled access to foreign works • Mostly Russian works or Indirect transl. (from Russian versions used as source texts) • Mostly literary + scientific or educational
End of Soviet period to present Active role of Universities & Translation Centres • Direct translations of Nobel prize authors + classics • Translation journals devoted to world literature • Unilingual and bilingual dictionaries • Editorial & printing activities • Khazar U. : national centre for ISBN registration
Most translations are into Azerbaijani • Increasingly from English • Other dominant source languages: • Russian • German, French • Arabic, Persian, Turkish • languages of neighbouring (former USSR) countries
Challenges • Direct translation and publication of works representative : • of ancient and modern world literature, with special emphasis on youth literature • of works representative of modern thought (humanities & social sciences) to which access was denied under the Soviet regime • Copyright : financial challenge • Codification of AZ language : text database
An Ethics of Reciprocity ? Translating & publishing abroad the works of modern authors of minority languages : • Foreign translations : few and haphazard • Mostly self-translations : native language quality at issue • Local publication & circulation : no visibility abroad = Need for international cooperation, e.g.: • through Western network of translation centres • translation/revision partnerships, barter translations • technical support for text database (language codification, terminology development) • partnerships for the training of translators & trainers, etc.
Case study 2Aboriginal languages in a multi-language state: Canada More than 65 native languages • 11 language groups • 3 dominant groups : Athapascan, Algonquian, Iroquoian • Only 3 languages have enough fluent speakers to survive: • Cree (100,000), Inuktitut (36,000), Ojibway (32,000) Less than 1% of Canadians (~ 250,000) can speak a native lang. About half (~ 130,000) use a native language daily
Lingering effects of historical stereotypes Aboriginals: Only group in Canada whose identity is defined by law • Royal Proclamation, 1763 • “savage tribes”, “savage nations” • “sauvage : se dit de certains peuples qui vivent ordinairement dans les bois, presque sans religion, sans loi, sans habitation fixe & plutôt en bêtes qu’en homme” (Dictionnaire de l’Académie, 1762)
British North America Act, 1867 • Creates the Dominion of Canada • 2 founding peoples : French & British • 2 official languages: French & English Aboriginals and their lands: reduced to “matters” subjected to fedreal legislation, as “savings” or “traffic regulation”
Acte des Sauvages, 1876 “espèce d’animal incapable de commander aux autres” [...] “ne possède ni agriculture ni troupeau” (Dictionnaire Littré, 1873) “a man of extreme, unfeeling, brutal cruelty; a barbarian [...] without manners” (Imperial Dictionary, 1898) “a member of a race or tribe in the lowest stage of development or cultivation” (Century Dictionary, 1900) Only in 1951 would the Acte des Sauvages be renamed Loi sur les Indiens
Canadian language policies:provincial & territorial level Native languages have official status in only 2 territories : • Nunavut: Inuktitut • North West Territories : 9 (Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut...) But none are vehicular in government However: • Laws are only binding in English & French • Services are universally available in English
Canadian language policiesfederal level • No federal recognition of aboriginal languages Proposed Aboriginal Languages Act (1997) never adopted • No permanent funding • No language institutions comparable to those existing for official [colonial] languages (e.g. Bureau for Translation, Terminology data bank...) • Language development left to provincial/territorial or individual initiatives(e.g. First Voices digital archives; teaching materials, dictionaries...)
An ethics of reciprocity ? • Ensure equal language rights in education, medical and legal services (through an Aboriginal Languages Act) • Extend to native languages the know-how acquired in the development of official languages, with priority given to terminology development.