Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific
5-8 Jul 2017 Bordeaux (France)
Border Literatures / Chicana Translatability
Romana Radlwimmer  1  
1 : Universität Augsburg

The notion translatability – which I understand in its most general way as the possibilities of and probabilities for translation/s – shapes the field of Border Literature of the Americas. It can be applied to the Spanish translations of the following bilingual/multilingual (yet predominantly English) texts: This Bridge Called My Back by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga, translated by Ana Castillo and Norma Alarcón; Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa, translated by Norma Elia Cantú; and Canícula by Norma Elia Cantú, translated by the author herself. My reading follows the linguistic and cultural meanders along borders (these “open wounds”) which these translations both undertake and are subjected to in the politics of knowledge making. Together, these texts add to the construction of a complex Chicana Translatability. Chicana Translatability can be defined by self-translation as a specific form of expression, metareflection and resistance. It can also be defined by self-conscious linguistic decisions transporting Chicana cultural coordinates, such as Castillo's/Alarcón's title Esta puente mi espalda, grammatically feminizing the Spanish masculine puente (bridge). Chicana Translatability can be characterized as well by translational limitations that enter ethical-esthetical zones. Here, linguistic conventions collide and textual intersectionality and intersectional textuality are at stake. My contribution doesn't aim to close open questions, but to open them up more by applying an Anzaldúan Tolerance for Ambiguity, and to stroll through the epistemologic landscapes where literary and theoretic Chicana Translatability happens. By doing so, powerful Chicana contributions to the long proclaimed, but at times somewhat shyly expanding Cultural Studies' Translational Turn become visible. My paper connects directly with Dr. Norma Elia Cantú's presentation on the different Spanish translations of Borderlands/La Frontera.

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