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L'épreuve de l'étranger, traductions françaises d'écrivains sri lankais contemporains de langue anglaise

Abstract : Translation is a cultural matter. At first sight, it may appear as a search for equivalents in the transfer from one language to another. However, in depth translation analysis reveals much more than meets the eye. A literary text written in one language cannot be translated into another language without paying attention to its associated cultural background. It has become a truism today to say that individuals belonging to different cultures do not communicate in the same way; while the linguistic dimension is important, so is the cultural one, since cultural habits are at the root of all human actions.The title of this thesis, “The Trials of the Foreign: French Translations of Contemporary Sri Lankan Writers in English”, combines three key words: “culture”, “Sri Lanka” and “translation”. The broad research question we started out with is: how is it possible to convey Sri Lankan culture in French literary translation? The two countries are distant not only geographically but also in terms of practices and values. Therefore, a true encounter between East and West is at stake here, mediated by the English language, which the authors of the two Sri Lankan novels we study here chose as a medium of expression.In his or her attempt to identify viable equivalents of different cultural realities, the translator is confronted with decisions about whether differences should be mitigated or, on the contrary, preserved, in order to maintain the local colour. When cultural differences are smoothed over in translation and the target text contains very few traces, if any, of the source culture, the reader may have the impression of reading an original. On the other hand, when the source culture is given prominence, the translation has the potential to make the reader travel abroad, and gain new experience.The two literary works which make the object of our research, Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family (1982) and Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy (1994), are imbued with Sri Lankan culture and pose significant challenges to translation. We draw on Lawrence Venuti’s (1995/2004) distinction between ethnocentric or domesticating translation (naturalisation) and foreignizing translation (dépaysement), while at the same time recognizing the importance of not taking this dichotomy for granted. And we assume, as Antoine Berman did, that translation is “openness, dialogue, blending and decentring” (1984: 16).We start by outlining a number of theoretical considerations about translation strategy, culture, and translating culture. We then carry out fine-grained analyses of the texts and endeavour to show how foreignization operates in Drôle de garçon (1998), the French translation by Frédéric Limare and Susan Fox-Limare of Selvadurai’s novel Funny Boy, and in Un air de famille (1991), the translation of Ondaatje’s Running in the Family by Marie-Odile Fortier-Masek. In the second part of our analysis, we focus on the strategy of domestication, which makes reading more fluent due to the mitigation of differences between cultures. Finally, we discuss some of the ways in which certain cultural facts remain untranslated, with implications for the integrity of the message, and the target readers’ experience of the text. We conclude that translation is indeed an encounter between cultures: a meeting that is fruitful and has the potential to enrich the literature of a new country, by allowing the reader to embark on a journey to a distant destination.Key words: culture, domestication, foreignization, Funny Boy, Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family, Shyam Selvadurai, Sri Lanka, translation
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Niroshini Gunasekera. L'épreuve de l'étranger, traductions françaises d'écrivains sri lankais contemporains de langue anglaise. Littératures. Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier III; Université de Kelaniya (Sri Lanka), 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017MON30083⟩. ⟨tel-01830718⟩



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