Tradução como cultura


  • Gayatri Chakravorty



translation, ethics, idiom.


This paper is divided into a general and a particular section. The first part is an essay pronounced in Oviedo, Spain, the second an acceptance speech for a national translation prize in New Delhi, India. Cultural translation is generally taken to be across differences. The first section of this paper takes a step toward further generality and shows that the individual in culture itself may be produced as a “translation” of genetic and metapsychological scripts. It then moves to a consideration of a second degree of translation, when a disenfranchised group transcodes “culture” into narrative and practices that should become part of curriculum and performance. This is distinguished from diasporic “hybrid” cultural translation. An example of subaltern cultural translation into history as myth is given. If the first section is a critique of a merely diasporic hybridity, the second section offers a critique of nationalist identitarianism. In the second part, French and Bengali are brought together as two languages from which the author has translated. The history of the author’s coming to translate from Bengali is given: It is suggested that translation is a necessary but impossible relationship, an ethical relationship to the text of the other. A contrast is made between fiction and the need for samelanguage dictionaries for the poorest, so that children of the subaltern classes can translate idiom into standard language. An example of subaltern creole is provided in order to emphasize the need for such dictionaries. Finally, translation is revealed to be its own resistance, for in that act we also transgress our love for the singular original.