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About Literature, Translation and Feminism



Anglicisms: should we correct them? In what cases?

María Moliner defines “anglicism” as an ‘English word or expression used in another language’. Do we know how to detect them and, if needed, avoid them?


We want to focus in structural and lexical anglicisms. The former are the ones that implicitly strip a Spanish text of its naturalness. Let's say, for example, the phrase: “Ella es una traductora de portugués”, which is a clear calque of the English phrase: “She’s a Portuguese translator.”


Let's consider the Enlgish phrase: “marginalized groups.” If we check the dictionary definition, “marginalize” translates to “marginar” in Spanish. However, the phrase “grupos marginalizados” is gaining more and more ground over the phrase “grupos marginados”in the field of humanitarian translation. So, what should we do with these anglicisms? Should we correct them?


Let's talk about feminist translation

Tamara Tenenbaum is an Argentine journalist, writer and translator. She studied Philosophy and currently works as a professor at University of Buenos Aires.


Some time ago, she translated "Living a Feminist Life" by Sara Ahmed, published by Caja Negra. In her own words: "It's a very raw book. It may draw attention as a philosophical text because Sara Ahmed reveals lots of details from her deeply personal life. [...] This writing strategy is part of an epistemological approach which considers practical knowledge to be as important and complex as theoretical knowledge. Ahmed says that feminism is something we do at home, wherever that is for each of us: our house, our university, our workplace, our community, our group of friends."


According to Tenenbaum, "the translations we are able to do are limited by the worlds we can unveil. There are new worlds but the old ones are already seared into our heads and we only see them when someone else points them out. You can't just translate everything, just like you can't just write about everything. You write what you can write and you translate what you can translate."


Pen pals

"Correspondencia" is a compilation of letters exchanged between Virginia Woolf and Victoria Ocampo throughout the years, collected by Manuela Barral and published by Rara Avis.


As explained by Paula Abran at Escritura Feminista:

"Both writers had to fight for their places in the male-dominated world of intellectuals and, although they did not even live in the same continent, their struggles were shared. Barral contacted the Virginia Woolf Society, which let her know about the manuscripts sent by Ocampo to Woolf that were kept at The Keep, an archive in Brighton, England."

Victoria Ocampo and Virginia Woolf met in London in late 1934 during an exhibition by surrealist photographer Man Ray. Woolf was already a world-renowned author while Ocampo was trying to get into the male-dominated space that were the Argentine intellectual circles. Victoria frequently recalled and reinvented her narration of this meeting, submerging the beginnings of that friendship in an almost mythical fog: "I looked at her with admiration. She looked at me with curiosity. So much curiosity on the one hand, and admiration on the other, that she immediately invited me to her house."

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