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Translation Effects

Translation Effects: The Shaping of Modern Canadian Culture

Kathy Mezei
Sherry Simon
Luise von Flotow
Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Translation Effects
    Book Description:

    Much of Canadian cultural life is sustained and enriched by translation. Translation Effects moves beyond restrictive notions of official translation in Canada, analyzing its activities and effects on the streets, in movie theatres, on stages, in hospitals, in courtrooms, in literature, in politics, and across café tables. The first comprehensive study of the intersection of translation and culture, Translation Effects offers an original picture of translation practices across many languages and through several decades of Canadian life. The book presents detailed case studies of specific events and examines the reverberation and spread of their effects. Through these imaginative, at times unusual, investigations, the contributors unveil the simultaneous invisibility and omnipresence of translation and present a cross-cut of Canadian translation moments. Addressing the period from the 1950s to the present and including a wide scope of examples from medical interpreting to film dubbing, the essays in this book create a panoramic view of the creation of modern culture in Canada. Contributors include Piere Anctil (University of Ottawa), Helene Buzelin (Université de Montréal), Alessndra Capperdoni (Simon Fraser University), Philippe Cardinal, Andrew Clifford (York University), Beverley Curran, Renée Desjardins (University of Ottawa), Ray Ellenwood, David Gaertner, Chantal Gagnon (Université de Montréal), Patricia Godbout, Hugh Hazelton, Jane Koustas (Brock University), Louise Ladouceur ( Université de l'Albera, Gillian Lane-mercier (McGill University), George Lang, Rebecca Margolis, Sophie McCall (Simon Fraser University), Dolmaya McDonough, Denise Merkle (Université de Moncton), Kathy Mezei, Sorouja Moll, Brian Mossop, Daisy Neijmann, Glen Nichols ( Mount Allison University), Joseph Pivato, Gregory Reid, Robert Schwartzwald, Sherry Simon, Luise von Flotow (University of Ottawa), and Christine York.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9058-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-2)
    (pp. 3-24)
    Kathy Mezei, Sherry Simon and Luise von Flotow

    A judicial debate regarding the admissibility of oral histories in First Nations treaty claims negotiations, the diffusion of the flq Manifesto,coureurs de boisexchanging furs with the Wendake, a Japanese Noh play written and adapted in present-day Vancouver – all these events involve translation and all have had important effects on Canadian life and culture. Yet these acts bear little resemblance to the mirror-image paragraphs with which Canadians are familiar, the symmetrical double texts required by the Official Languages Act and produced by an efficient cohort of professionals across the land. Much of Canadian cultural life is sustained and enriched...

  6. Part One Translating Media and the Arts

    • 1 1885, 1998: Translating Big Bear in Film
      (pp. 27-36)
      Ray Ellenwood

      In 1998, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation presented a four-hour television mini-series devoted to the great Cree Chief Big Bear, who had been notoriously reluctant to sign Treaty Six (and thus consign his people to a reservation) in 1876.¹ After some years of wandering, finding it more and more difficult to feed themselves in the traditional ways, yet aware that others on reservations were often no better off, Big Bear and his considerable band of followers ended up, demoralized and starving, in the vicinity of Frog Lake, not far from what is now Cold Lake, Alberta. There, they learned of attempts...

    • 2 1950–1956: An Interventionist Approach to Versioning at the National Film Board of Canada
      (pp. 37-49)
      Christine York

      In 1953, as part of a low-budget series of documentary shorts calledFaces of Canadathat showed individual Canadians of various backgrounds going about their occupations, Roman Kroitor made a film that is now considered a classic of the nfb’s “golden years” (Hancox 13). Set in the dead of a winter’s night in Winnipeg, it portrays a Polish Canadian street-railway switchman who, in voice-over, speaks contentedly about his life in Canada while recalling the massacre of family members back in his homeland. The producer of the film’s French version, Jacques Bobet, would make the surprising decision to expunge all references...

    • 3 October 2006: Territoires et trajectoires Is Launched in Montreal and “Cultural Race Politics” Are Introduced to Quebec
      (pp. 50-61)
      Sherry Simon

      Territoires et trajectoiresis the tittle of the French translation of 13Conversation about Art and Cultural Race Politics,a book of interviews on the topic of art and race politics in Canada from the 1980 s onwards. These slim volumes were both published by Artextes Editions (or Éditions Artextes) in Montreal, the English version in 2002 and the French version in 2006 – when it was launched at a well-attended event at the Galerie la Centrale in Montreal. Monika Kin Gagnon, writer, critic, curator, and professor at Concordia University, and Richard Fung, prominent Toronto video artist and professor at the...

    • 4 June 2007: Quebec Politicians Debate a Bill to Impose Strict Controls on Audiovisual Translation, and Fail to Pass It
      (pp. 62-75)
      Luise Von Flotow

      In June 2007, a noisy scandal erupted in Quebec on the topic of film dubbing. It was set off by a politician’s reaction to the synchronization (or dubbing) “made in France” of an animated Hollywood film for children:Shrek the Third.A rather strange topic for such an outcry, this was the third in a series of children’s movies constructed around a green ogre who sets out with a noisy donkey at his side to free his swamp of various fairy tale creatures, and meets love in the process. Due to the distribution policies of Dreamworks/Paramount studios, these English-language Hollywood...

    • 5 Summer 2008: Pays de la Sagouine: Cultural Translation at an Acadian Theme Park
      (pp. 76-88)
      Glen Nichols

      Just thirty minutes northeast of Moncton, New Brunswick, on the picturesque Northumberland Strait sits the village of Bouctouche (population 2,476), birthplace and summer residence of Acadian writer, Antonine Maillet. Nestled on the edge of a large bay and intersected by the scenic Bouctouche River, nearly half a kilometre wide as it empties into the sea at the Bouctouche Marina, the village has also been home to a unique summer attraction since 1992: Pays de la Sagouine, a theme park dedicated to the plays and fiction of Antonine Maillet, to the particular vision of Acadie that is constructed through her writing....

  7. Part Two Translating Politics

    • 6 February 1968: Acadian Activism and the Discontents of Translation
      (pp. 91-104)
      Denise Merkle

      New Brunswick, February 1968: Charges for “public mischief” were laid against two Université de Moncton students from Quebec in the New Brunswick Superior Court before Justice J. Hughes. Like Justice Henry Murphy of the lower court, Justice Hughes refused to hear their case in French. Their offence was to have offered Moncton Mayor Leonard C. Jones the gift of a “tête de cochon” (“a pig’s head”).² The case in which translation, or rather non-translation, played a central role raised national interest around the equality of Canada’s two charter languages, when the students insisted their case be heard in French. This...

    • 7 1970: The October Crisis and the FLQ Manifesto
      (pp. 105-118)
      Robert Schwartzwald

      The 1970 October Crisis forced Canadians to think hard about the nature of their federation and the place of Quebec within it. It also tested their willingness to defend, or yield, civil liberties in the face of political violence exercised by a small, terrorist organization. Throughout, only those relatively few English-speakers in Quebec and across the country who possessed sufficient knowledge of French were able to follow “the biggest domestic news story Canada had ever experienced” (Wainstein xx) in theversion originale.¹ For the majority of Canadians, key moments of this unprecedented drama took place in a language they did...

    • 8 1971: Pierre Vallières Comes to English Canada via the United States
      (pp. 119-130)
      Julie McDonough Dolmaya

      27 September 1966: While protesting in front of the United Nations in an effort to “sensibiliser certains pays − que l’on disait révolutionnaires − à la cause d’un Québec libre et socialiste” Vallières,Nègres blancs30),¹ Pierre Vallières was arrested by agents from the United States Department of Immigration acting on behalf of the Canadian government. He and his colleague, Charles Gagnon, were taken to the Manhattan House of Detention for Men, where they awaited deportation to Canada. After a twenty-nineday hunger strike, Vallières spent the next two months writingNègres blancs d’Amérique, an autobiographical and revolutionary text that would eventually...

    • 9 January/February 1977: Independence, Secession, Political Duels or Lévesque and Trudeau in the United States
      (pp. 131-141)
      Chantal Gagnon

      In Quebec and Canada, the months of January and February 1977 were marked by a historic duel between two great political rivals. In one corner, René Lévesque and his 25 January 1977 speech to the Economic Club of New York; in the other, Pierre Elliott Trudeau with his 22 February 1977 response in Washington, to the United States House of Representatives. Each politician’s speech was translated at that time, and excerpts were published in newspapers in Quebec, anglophone Canada, and the United States. Both Quebec natives of the same generation, Lévesque and Trudeau were symbols par excellence of the political...

    • 10 2007: Translating Culture during the Bouchard-Taylor Commission
      (pp. 142-160)
      Renée Desjardins

      Quebec City, 29 October 2007: As they arrive to participate in one of the regional citizens’ forums of the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences, the citizens of Quebec City are asked to fill out a small survey pertaining to their values and beliefs. They are then ushered into the conference room, where camera crews are setting up for what will surely be another night of colourful commentary, heated debates, and insightful exchanges between groups and individuals that may never have been in contact with each other prior to the forum. The gathering is diverse: men, women,...

  8. Part Three Translating Poetry, Fiction, Essays

    • 11 1923: “Foreign” Immigrants Write Back: The Publication of Laura Goodman Salverson’s The Viking Heart
      (pp. 163-173)
      Daisy Neijmann

      During the 1920s and 1930s, “foreign” immigrant writers begin to make themselves heard in Canadian literature for the first time. From various backgrounds, these writers translate their own experiences, and those of their cultural groups, into a Canadian literary idiom – experimenting with language and form to accommodate them. Canadian multiculturalism, although not an official policy until 1971, has of course been a fact of life in Canada since the earliest days of immigration, not least in the Canadian West, where many of the non–Anglo-Celtic immigrants initially settled. Culturally, however, Canada had been virtually exclusively defined and expressed in Anglo-Celtic...

    • 12 September 1970: Publication of a “Monologue” on Translation
      (pp. 174-181)
      Patricia Godbout

      On 22 September 1970, a few days before the beginning of the October Crisis, Anne Hébert and F.R. Scott’sDialogue sur la traduction,published by Hurtubise hmh, was launched in Montreal. Earlier that month, on 4 September, Hébert who was then living in Paris, had sent the publisher Claude Hurtubise a telegram apologizing for her absence: “REGRETTE NE POUVOIR ASSISTER LANCEMENT TRADUCTION STOP AUTORISE LANCEMENT AVEC SCOTT 17 SEPTEMBRE STOP SERAI MONTREAL DÉBUT NOVEMBRE AMITIÉS ANNE.”¹ Thus, Scott was left to pursue on his own what had already become a monologue on translation over his numerous English versions of Hébert’s...

    • 13 11 September 1973: Latin America Comes to Canada
      (pp. 182-196)
      Hugh Hazelton

      On the morning of 11 September 1973, Chilean fighter planes began to strafe and bomb the Moneda, the presidential palace of their country, acting on orders from a military junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet. By that afternoon, after a valiant defence, the president of the country, Salvador Allende, and a number of his staff were dead, and Chile, which had an almost uninterrupted history of democratic governance, was under military dictatorship. This coup d’état was part of a series of similar military takeovers inspired by the United States that began in Brazil in 1964, continued on to Uruguay in...

    • 14 1978: Language Escapes: Italian-Canadian Authors Write in an Official Language and Not in Italiese
      (pp. 197-207)
      Joseph Pivato

      The important year for Italian-Canadian literature is 1978–79, the year in which three writers separately and simultaneously made conscious decisions to write in a standard official language of Canada rather than in standard Italian or their immigrant dialect, Italiese. That year in Toronto, Pier Giorgio Di Cicco brought outRoman Candles,the first anthology of Italian-Canadian poetry, and it augured the beginning of this new ethnic minority literature. As editor, Di Cicco had deliberately decided that this anthology should include only work in English. In Ottawa in 1978, F.G. Paci published his first novel,The Italians, in English, and...

    • 15 1984: Disquieting Equivalents: David Homel Retranslates Le cassé by Quiet Revolution Novelist Jacques Renaud
      (pp. 208-222)
      Gillian Lane-Mercier

      While the shock waves created by Jacques Renaud’s unprecedented use ofjoualas a political tool in his 1964 novelLe casséhave long since subsided in Quebec, their effects still fuel research and debate in the areas of literary history, criticism, and sociolinguistics. Some commentators continue to uphold the more traditional view, frequently expressed in the 1970s, wherebyjoualis a rather hermetic, monological stylistic device. Others adopt a more positive attitude, stressing the ongoing political and aesthetic relevance of literaryjoual.¹ Thus, in 1991, playwright Michel Tremblay exclaimed: “Mort lejoual? Pantoute!” (21). Indeed, since the late 1980s, specialists...

    • 16 1989: The Heyday of Feminist Translational Poetics in Canada: Tessera’s Spring Issue on La traduction au féminin comme réécriture
      (pp. 223-238)
      Alessandra Capperdoni

      What is the relationship between translation and women’s language and writing? Is there a feminist practice of translation? Is a feminist poetics a translational one? Is a feminist translation theory being produced in Canada, and if so, what role can it play in Translation Studies internationally? In the spring of 1989, the Canadian feminist bilingual journalTesseradedicated issue no. 6, “La traduction au féminin / Translating Women,” entirely to these questions. That in the same year four works exemplifying the intersection of feminist writing and translation were published can hardly be a coincidence. Québécois avant-garde poet Nicole Brossard reassembled...

    • 17 1992: Translating Montreal’s Yiddish Poet Jacob Isaac Segal into French
      (pp. 239-250)
      Pierre Anctil

      Yiddish is a language spoken in Montreal since the beginning of the twentieth century, and although it has given birth to an important body of writing in the city, this Yiddish literature was not connected with the franco - phone literary corpus until relatively late. Not until 1992 was Montreal’s Yiddish poetry translated into French for the first time and presented to a readership that, for the most part, had never before been able to grasp its meaning or understand its contribution to their literary culture. The appearance in 1992 ofPoèmes Yiddish,by Jacob Isaac Segal, a collection bringing...

    • 18 1992: Through Translation, Mordecai Richler’s Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! Generates Controversy in English and French
      (pp. 251-261)
      Julie McDonough Dolmaya

      In mid-September 1991, days before Mordechai Richler’s essay “Inside/ Outside” appeared in the 23 September 1991New Yorker,excerpts from it were already coming out in French translation, starting with an article inLa Presse(Leblanc A1). And well before the book that developed from this essay (Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! Requiem for a Divided Country, 1992) was translated into French by Daniel Poliquin (1992) and published by Les Éditions Balzac, various excerpts from it had appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines and been discussed on the air, in political cartoons, letters to the editor, and even in Canada’s House...

    • 19 1998: The Artefactual Voice Within: Terry Glavin’s “Rain Language” Is Published
      (pp. 262-270)
      George Lang

      “Rain Language” is a seventeen-page poem composed in alternating lines of English and Chinook jargon − henceforth,Wawa, its endonym, the name of the language in the language itself. “Rain Language” is the centrepiece ofA Voice Great within Us,a defence and illustration of Wawa by the west coast poet and regional historian Charles Lillard. The poem itself is by Terry Glavin, who collaborated with Lillard and then, after Lillard’s death in 1997, edited the manuscript for publication.

      A Voice Great within Usis, beyond the pieces by Lillard and Glavin, a compendium of artefacts, visual and textual, which speak...

    • 20 1999: Cross-Purposes: Translating and Publishing Traditional First Nations Narratives in Canada at the Turn of the Millennium
      (pp. 271-289)
      Philippe Cardinal

      In 1999, Canadian poet Robert Bringhurst published his retranslation of the Skidegate Haida nation’s traditional founding narrative. He was later accused of having produced a work that is “emphatically designed to appropriate Haida stories into a Western art canon and the value-laden sense given by modern artistic specialization” (Willmott 125).

      In 1999, Canadian ethnographer Dominique Legros published his textualization of a Northern Tutchone Elder’s self-translation of his nation’s traditional founding narrative. The Elder’s family,¹ and the Northern Tutchone Selkirk First Nation government, now accuse him of doing it without their permission and of failing to share the royalties with them....

    • 21 22 February 2001: Les Allusifs Enter the Publishing Scene
      (pp. 290-302)
      Hélène Buzelin

      Publishing houses offer a strategic perspective for understanding the making of culture. In a position to decide what is worth reading and what is not, who is in and who is out, they act as gatekeepers. They can enhance some voices and repress others. As such, they also have the power to set new trends. This power is exercised in interaction with political actors, specifically in Canada, with civil servants who implement cultural policies, and with the media. Analysing the relationships of these groups permits the highlighting of tensions that underlie the construction of a collective identity. Sherry Simon aptly...

  9. Part Four Translating Drama

    • 22 31 March 1973: Michel Tremblay’s Les belles-sœurs in Toronto: Theatre Translation and Bilingualism
      (pp. 305-317)
      Louise Ladouceur

      The English-language production of Michel Tremblay’sLes belles-soeurs, which ran from 31 March to 28 April 1973, at the St Lawrence Centre in Toronto, was a resounding success. Herbert Whittaker of theGlobe and Maildescribed it as a “milestone play […] a historic document of some significance” (“Les belles soeursMilestone Play” 13), while theToronto Citizen’sDavid McCaughna praised the success of the translation in retaining “the flavour and earthiness” (quoted in Koustas, “From Gélinas to Carrier” 118) of the original’s common, everyday Québécois speech.¹ The rave reviews given the play by Toronto critics established Tremblay as a leading...

    • 23 1974: Small West Coast Press Talonbooks Makes a Bold Move and Publishes Four Quebec Plays in Translation
      (pp. 318-332)
      Kathy Mezei

      Why did Talonbooks in Vancouver, along with other small publishing houses across Canada in the 1970s, turn to the translation of Quebec writers? What effects did Talonbooks’ translations − the choice of translations, the process of obtaining them, and the conditions of production − have on the making of modern Canadian culture?¹ Although Talonbooks can claim neither the first English translation of a modern Quebec play,² nor the first translation of a writer from Quebec’s Quiet Revolution,³ its unprecedented publication of four contemporary Quebec plays in 1974 signalled a pivotal moment in the history of literary translation in Canada. Within...

    • 24 1977: Michel Tremblay’s Bonjour, là, bonjour in English at the Saidye Bronfman Centre Theatre: Jouissance, Translation, and a Choice of Taboos
      (pp. 333-344)
      Gregory J. Reid

      Prior to the first election of the independentist Parti Québécois in 1976, Michel Tremblay had refused to allow his plays to be produced in English in Quebec. The Quebec premiere of John Van Burek’s and Bill Glassco’s English translation of Tremblay’sBonjour, là, bonjourat the Saidye Bronfman Centre (now the Segal Centre for Performing Arts) in Montreal in 1977 was, therefore, the first time that a Tremblay play had been presented in Quebec in English. The event was a crossroads of many histories, and even now, more than three decades later, we are still challenged to grasp its full...

    • 25 1984–2009: Robert Lepage Meets the Rest of Canada
      (pp. 345-357)
      Jane Koustas

      When asked about his dual loyalty to Canada and Quebec, Robert Lepage once stated, “Quebec is a small, incestuous society that I am proud to be a part of” (Grescoe 132). And, commenting on his creative inspiration, he confessed to being still very much a kid “always more interested in playing with the box than with the gift that came in it” (Winsor).

      Lepage here introduces ideas central to understanding the notion of identity and its role in his work. First, he is a proud Quebecer and, while recognizing the limits of this perhaps sometimes closed society, he also understands...

    • 26 1992: Les belles-sœurs and Di shvegerins: Translating Québécois into Yiddish for the Montreal Stage
      (pp. 358-370)
      Rebecca Margolis

      In 1992, the Yiddish Theatre of Montreal’s Saidye Bronfman Centre (now the Segal Centre for Performing Arts) produced an original translation of Michel Tremblay’s classic Québécois play,Les belles-soeurs(The Sistersin- law) under the titleDi shvegerins. The plot ofLes belles-soeursrevolves around a group of French-Catholic working-class women in Montreal’s East End who speak in the Québécois dialect ofjoualrather than the standard French that was the convention of the stage when the play was authored in 1965. With its groundbreaking use ofjoualon the stage, and its subtext of social criticism,Les belles-soeurscaused a revolution in Quebec...

    • 27 May 2006: East Meets West Coast in Canadian Noh: The Gull
      (pp. 371-381)
      Beverley Curran

      When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the consequences were immediately felt by the Japanese diaspora living on the west coast of Canada, who found themselves simultaneously translated into enemy aliens. Citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry were uprooted and interned in camps in the interior of British Columbia and were not allowed to return to the Pacific coast until 1949. Many had worked in the fishing industry, and along with losing their livelihoods, had their boats and other property seized and sold to pay for their incarceration. After the war ended, “repatriation” was encouraged, sending some Japanese...

    • 28 February 2008: The Death of a Chief: Translating Shakespeare into Native Theatre
      (pp. 382-396)
      Sorouja Moll

      On 21 February 2008 “nine human forms, curled around their rocks, nine human forms that wake now, moving from fetal position […] pulling themselves onto their knees […] raising their rocks to the sky” (Nolan and Kennedy 387) opened the production ofThe Death of a Chief(hereafter,Death) at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. This adaptation of William Shakespeare’s historical tragedyJulius Caesarwas brought to the stage by Toronto’s Native Earth Performing Arts Inc,¹ and its codirectors Yvette Nolan and Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon in collaboration with an all-Native company of actors.²

      As the audience entered the...

  10. Part Five Performing Translation

    • 29 1974: The Weimar Republic Comes to Gay Toronto
      (pp. 399-415)
      Brian Mossop

      In the September/October 1974 issue ofThe Body Politic,a gay liberation newspaper published in Toronto, the following words appeared in capital letters across the bottom of page 2: “THE LIBERATION OF HOMOSEXUALS CAN ONLY BE THE WORK OF HOMOSEXUALS THEMSELVES” –KURT HILLER, 1921.

      In the October 1975 issue of the paper, Hiller’s words were moved to the paper’s masthead, and they continued to appear there as a sort of motto until the final issue in 1987. The importance attributed to Hiller’s idea is also evident from a poster that was produced at the time showing a gay rights march...

    • 30 1986: Interpreting Effects: From Legislative Framework to End Users
      (pp. 416-429)
      Andrew Clifford

      Imagine that you have arrived on the shores of a distant land, only to find that you are ill. You make your way to a hospital and are seen by a host of different health care practitioners. “Di-a-bet-es” the people around you keep saying, but you don’t speak the local language, and you can’t really follow much more of the conversations around you than this. You can tell there is something wrong with your left foot and leg − it is numb and ulcerated. In fact, you are very worried that you may have gangrene. One of the health care...

    • 31 1997: The Supreme Court of Canada Rules that the Laws of Evidence Must Be Adapted to Accommodate Aboriginal Oral Histories
      (pp. 430-443)
      Sophie McCall

      In 1991, Chief Justice Allan McEachern of the Supreme Court of British Columbia wrote his Reasons for Judgment,Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, which denied the claim of the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en plaintiffs to the ownership and jurisdiction of their territories on the northwest coast of British Columbia. In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that there were “palpable errors” in the judgment (Delgamuukw v. Canada[scc] par. 7).¹ Chief Justice Antonio Lamer wrote that McEachern had not given adequate weight to the oral histories presented in the court and determined that future trials must include oral traditions as evidence....

    • 32 20 October 2008: Translating Reconciliation
      (pp. 444-458)
      David Gaertner

      On 10 May 2006, following from models provided by Argentina, Chile, and South Africa, among others, the Canadian federal government approved a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (hereafter, TRC) to both acknowledge and document the injustices and harm committed against Native Canadian children as a direct result of residential school programs. In 1920, attendance at these schools was made compulsory for Aboriginal children between the ages of seven and fifteen. By 1931, there were eighty residential schools open and operating in Canada. It was not until 1996 that the last residential school, the Gordon Residential School, closed in Saskatchewan. On 20...

    (pp. 459-466)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 467-478)