Junot Diaz’s Spanglish Fiction as an Entrance Gate to Migrant Identity

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished abstract

Abstract

Many of us use the words Identity and Culture without giving it much of a thought. Even so, defining these words is notoriously difficult. Writers come from a culture, have an identity, but how do these concepts express themselves? Culture and identity are concepts increasingly found in newspapers as well as in everyday conversations, now that migration has become one of the main concerns of Europe and these concepts seem to be intimately related to migration. Migrants are also people who write fiction and their identity should be included in their fiction somewhere. Are these expressions of group belonging preserved when they are translated? Can we discover it when we read them, or is it something like poetry, that gets lost when translated? In this communication we analyse the translations into Spanish and Dutch of Junot Diaz’s Brief wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Junot Diaz writes in Spanglish, using many Spanish words and expressions in his otherwise English writing. This is obviously a challenge for a Spanish translator, as it is for a Dutch translator. Something has to be lost, and maybe something is gained. If we line up all the occurrences of Spanish expressions in Junot Diaz, they tell us something, not only of the writer’s identity, but also of his community’s identity. Can one recognize this in a translation, particularly in a Spanish one, since all the Spanish expressions necessarily disappear. According to our findings, the Spanglish component is essential to Junot Diaz’s story-telling and the Spanish and Dutch translators take different stances towards the problem. Parallels will also be drawn with German-Turkish Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Dutch-Iranian Kader Abdolah.
Original languageEnglish
Pages48-49
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2016
EventBRIDGING ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES IN EVERYDAY LIVES: NEW ROLES FOR CHANGING SCENARIOS - Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 25 Nov 201527 Nov 2016
http://ialic2016bcn.com/index.html

Conference

ConferenceBRIDGING ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES IN EVERYDAY LIVES: NEW ROLES FOR CHANGING SCENARIOS
Abbreviated titleIALIC 2016
CountrySpain
CityBarcelona
Period25/11/1527/11/16
Internet address

Keywords

  • Migration, Literary Translation, Spanglish, Identity, Junot Díaz

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