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

Abstract

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.

Keywords
Table of contents

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.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Texts

Faulkner, William
1949Le bruit et la fureur, tr.tr. Maurice E. Coindreau. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1932Light in August. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
1935Lumière d’août, tr. Maurice E. Coindreau. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1977Œuvres romanesques I, ed. I. Michel Gresset. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1995Œuvres romanesques II, eds. André Bleikasten and François Pitavy. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1934Sanctuaire, trs.R.N. Raimbault and Henri Delgove. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1962Sanctuary. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
1984The sound and the fury, ed. Noel Polk. New York: Random House.Google Scholar

Secondary sources

Appiah, Kwame Anthony
2000 “Thick translation”. Lawrence Venuti, ed. The Translation Studies reader. London-New York: Routledge 2000 417–429.Google Scholar
[ p. 337 ]
Bakhtin, M.M.
1981The dialogic imagination: Four essays by M.M. Bakhtin, ed. Michael Holquist, trs. Carlyl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
Boecker, Eberhard
1973William Faulkne’s later novels in German: A study in the theory and practice of translation. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Bowdre, Paul HullJr.
1964 “A study of eye dialect”. Gainesville: University of Florida. [Dissertation. DAI-A 29.03.887.]Google Scholar
Brisset, Annie
1990Sociocritique de la traduction: théâtre et altérité au Québec (1968–1988). Longueuil: Préambule.Google Scholar
Catford, J.C.
1965A linguistic theory of translation. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Chapdelaine, Annick
1994 “Transparence et retraduction des sociolectes dans The hamlet de Faulkner”. TTR: Traduction, terminologie, rédaction 7:2. 1–33.Google Scholar
Chapdelaine, Annick and Gillian Lane-Mercier
eds. 2001Faulkner: une expérience de retraduction. Montréal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Chesterman, Andrew
1997Memes of translation: The spread of ideas in translation theory. Amsterdam-Philadephia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Chesterman, Andrew Natividad Gallardo San Salvador and Yves Gambier
eds. Translating in context: Selected contributions from the EST congress, Granada, 1998 Amsterdam-Philadelphia John Benjamins
Cukor-Avila, Patricia
2001 “Co-existing grammars: The relationship between the evolution of African American and White vernacular English in the South”. Lanehart 2001: 93–127.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Fayen, Tonya Tarleton
1990 “The Latin American literary polysystem 1930–1970: Faulkner in translation”. Binghamton: State University of New York. [Dissertation. DAI-A 51.03.872.]Google Scholar
Findlay, Bill
1996 “Translation into dialect”. David Johnston, ed. Stages of translation. Bath: Absolute Classics 1996 199–217.Google Scholar
Fleischman, Suzanne
1990Tense and narrativity: From medieval performance to modern fiction. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
Genette, Gérard
1972Figures III. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
1983Nouveau discours du récit. Paris: Seuil. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Gentzler, Edwin
2002 “Translation, poststructuralism, and power”. Maria Tymoczko and Edwin Gentzler, eds. Translation and power. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press 2002 195–218.Google Scholar
Glissant, Édouard
1996Faulkner, Mississippi. Paris: Stock.Google Scholar
Guiloineau, Jean
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.Google Scholar
Halliday, M.A.K.
1978Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
Hatim, Basil and Ian Mason
1997Translator as communicator. London-New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Herrero, Leticia
1998 “Sobre la traducibilidad de los marcadores culturales”. Chesterman, San Salvador and Gambier 1998: 307–316.Google Scholar
[ p. 338 ]
Hunter, Edwin R.
1973William Faulkner: Narrative practice and prose style. Washington, D.C.: Windover Press.Google Scholar
Ives, Sumner
1971 “A theory of literary dialect”. Juanita Williamson and Virginia M. Burke, eds. A various language: Perspectives on American dialects. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1971 123–135.Google Scholar
Jäckel, Anne
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.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Lanehart, Sonja L.
2001 “State of the art in African American English research: Multidisciplinary perspectives and directions”. Lanehart 2001a: 1–20.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
ed. 2001aSociocultural and historical contexts of African American English. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Leech, Geoffrey N. and Michael H. Short
1981Style in fiction: A linguistic introduction to English fictional prose. London: Longman.Google Scholar
Lencho, Mark W.
1998 “Dialect variation in The sound and the fury: A study of Faulkner’s use of Black English”. Mississippi quarterly 41. 403–419.Google Scholar
Mayoral Asensio, Roberto
1990 “Comentario a la traducción de algunas variedades de lengua”. Sendebar 1. 35–46.Google Scholar
Mufwene, Salikoko S.
2001 “What is African American English?”. Lanehart 2001: 21–51.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Murphree, John WilsonJr.
1975 “A study of William Faulkner’s informal dialect theory and his use of dialect markers in eight novels”. Murcie, Ind.: Ball State University. [Dissertation. DAI-A 36.04.2177.]Google Scholar
North, Michael
1994The dialect of modernism: Race, language, and twentieth-century literature. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Ortega y Gasset, José
1955El libro de las misiones. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe.Google Scholar
Perret, Jacques
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.Google Scholar
Pitavy, François
2001François Pitavy commente Le bruit et la fureur de William Faulkner. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
Puurtinen, Tiina
1998 “Translating linguistic markers of ideology”. Chesterman, San Salvador and Gambier 1998: 177–186.Google Scholar
Sánchez, María T.
1999 “Translation as a(n) (im)possible task: Dialect in literature”. Babel 45:4. 301–310.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
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.]Google Scholar
Sternberg, Meir
1981 “Polylingualism as reality and translation as mimesis”. Poetics today 2:4. 221–239.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Taivalkoski, Kristiina
1998 “Les simplifications narratives dans une traduction française de Joseph Andrews”. Chesterman, San Salvador and Gambier 1998: 187–198.Google Scholar
Traugott, Elisabeth Closs
1981 “The sociolinguistics of minority dialect in literary prose”. Danny Alford et al., eds. Proceedings of the seventh annual meeting of the Berkeley linguistics society. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society 1981 308–316.Google Scholar
[ p. 339 ]
Walpole, Jane Raymond
1974 “Eye dialect in fictional dialogue”. College composition and communication 25:2. 191–196.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
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.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar