M1: Unit 3: Q5 Answer

« back to questions

Answer

First of all, the decision to translate or not to translate the book would very much depend on whether you would be willing to act as part of a gender-oriented project and whether you would find appropriate ‘patrons’. For instance, which publishing house would be willing to undertake the publication? A university press, a mainstream publisher, or one that specializes on women’s studies/ issues? Would the play be performed? If yes, by which theatre company? Would it be professionals or amateurs?

What sort of extratextual material would you offer together with the target text? The Vagina Monologues, if translated without additional information provided on the international V-day campaign to stop violence against women, would certainly lack some of its transformative force. Would you consider an introduction or a translator’s preface to present the book’s context?

Would you be willing to experiment with the language in order to demonstrate and resist against its patriarchal bias? Would you be prepared to deal with ‘difficult’ or ‘taboo’ subjects? Or would there be sentences, paragraphs or even chapters which you think are inappropriate for yourself, your readers, or your editor?

All these, and many more, are the decisions that you will have to take in this project, and in fact in any translation project. The gender-oriented approaches and strategies can act like suggestions in this process.

Incidentally, the book is already translated into more than 24 languages, so yours may end up being a retranslation! See http://www.randomhouse.com/features/ensler/vm/book.html