Dialect and point of view: The ideology of translation in The sound and the fury in French
Simo K. Määttä
Department of French, University of California at Berkeley
This article is an analysis of translations into French of non-standard literary dialect, in particular the speech of African Americans, in William Faulkner’s The sound and the fury. It shows that the contingency of dialect variation upon narrative point of view (focalization) is not taken into account in translation, an omission that alters the ideological framework of the novel. In addition, it argues that the maintenance of this variation, when systematic, should be at least as important a concern as, for instance, the most accurate translation of single dialectal or non-standard words and utterances.
Literary representation of non-standard language, imitating the lexical, morphosyntactic, and phonological characteristics of the characters’ alleged real speech, plays an important role in William Faulkner’s novel The sound and the fury. This non-standard language is part of the polyphonic structure and the ideological construction of the novel: it reflects and creates focalization (cf. Genette 1972: 206, 1989: 49), i.e., narrative point of view or narrative focus, indicating through whose perspective the events and the speech are described. In this article, I will analyze the French translations of The sound and the fury and show how they, albeit translating in innovative ways, adversely alter the representation of dialect, especially that of African American characters, which flattens the distinction between different focalizations. While the analysis concentrates on the translations of The sound and the fury, examples from [ p. 320 ]translations of Sanctuary (Sanctuaire) and Light in August (Lumière d’aoÛt) will also be used.
1949Le bruit et la fureur, tr.tr. Maurice E. Coindreau. Paris: Gallimard.
1997 “La traduction n’est pas un passage mais une rupture”. Miguel Ángel Vega and Rafael Marín-Gaitero, eds. La palabra vertida: Investigaciones en torno a la traducción. Madrid: Editorial Complutense 1997 17–23.
1978Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London: Arnold.
2001 “The subtitling of La Haine: A case study”. Yves Gambier and Henrik Gottlieb. eds. (Multi) media translation: Concepts, practices, and research. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins 2001 223–235.
1955El libro de las misiones. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe.
1975 “Traduction et parole”. Problèmes littéraires de la traduction: textes présentés au cours d’un séminaire organisé pendant l’année académique 1973–1974. Louvain: Bibliothèque de l’université 1975 9–20.
2001François Pitavy commente Le bruit et la fureur de William Faulkner. Paris: Gallimard.
1998 “Translating linguistic markers of ideology”. Chesterman, San Salvador and Gambier 1998: 177–186.
Sánchez, María T.
1999 “Translation as a(n) (im)possible task: Dialect in literature”. Babel 45:4. 301–310.
Soares Neiva, Aurora Maria
1995 “Native son in Brazilian Portuguese with a study of dialects and translation: A nonlogocentric approach”. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University. [Dissertation. DAI-A 56.10.3933.]
1981 “Polylingualism as reality and translation as mimesis”. Poetics today 2:4. 221–239.
1998 “Les simplifications narratives dans une traduction française de Joseph Andrews”. Chesterman, San Salvador and Gambier 1998: 187–198.
Traugott, Elisabeth Closs
1981 “The sociolinguistics of minority dialect in literary prose”. Danny Alfordet al., eds. Proceedings of the seventh annual meeting of the Berkeley linguistics society. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society 1981 308–316.
[ p. 339 ]
Walpole, Jane Raymond
1974 “Eye dialect in fictional dialogue”. College composition and communication 25:2. 191–196.
Wekker, Gloria and Herman Wekker
1991 “Coming in from the cold: Linguistic and socio-cultural aspects of the translation of Black English vernacular literary texts into Surinamese Dutch”. Babel 37:4. 221–239.