Inside Out or Outside In? Translating Margins, Marginalizing Translations. The Case of Francophone Pacific Writing


  • Jean Anderson



The concepts of centre and margins are of course, or ought to be, interchangeable: where we are is, in that sense, always the centre. However, no one would deny that in terms of culture, some 'centres' are more dominant than others. As a translator of Pacific texts, both from French into English and from English into French (as a co-translator), I have become acutely aware of what is at stake in the 'centre' of the Pacific, in particular on the islands of New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Focusing on texts from French Polynesia, I look at some of the ways in which indigenous Pacific authors writing in French 'deterritorialise' both genre and language conventions to create new forms of expression. Chantal Spitz, for example, employs a highly poetic style, even including traditional poetic forms in her prose. How can the translator respond to these strategies in such a way as to promote a reading 'from the inside out'?


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Author Biography

Jean Anderson

Associate Professor (Reader) French Programme; Founding Director, NZ Centre for Literary Translation / Te Tumu Whakawhiti Tuhinga o Aotearoa, Victoria University of Wellington; Editor, NZ Journal of French Studies. Chevalier dans l'ordre des palmes académiques