The Othering of Others. Domestication and Foreignization in the Reception of Swedish Literature on the French Book Market 1945–2018

This essay investigates changing strategies for translation of semi-peripheral literatures into central languages, using the example of Swedish literature translated to French in the post-war era. The overall thesis is that domestication (i.e. adapting the source text to the target culture) as described by the American translation theorist Lawrence Venuti in his book The Translator’s Invisibility (1995) is gradually overturned by foreignization (i.e. retaining the character of the source text, often breaking the conventions of the target culture).The emphasis of what is foreign or exotic also entails an overwriting of earlier (non-exoticizing) visions of the semi-peripheral source culture, creating a sort of palimpsest, superimposing new images on top of others. The palimpsestic tendencies of the shifting translation strategies are of course especially apparent in source texts that have been translated several times, foreign elements having been brought forward from the background of an older domesticating translation. But in a more general sense, all translations produce images of the other, which together with earlier images of the same kind produces a multi-layered vision of the source culture. As a way of understanding and explaining the shifting strategies of translation, this essay introduces a theoretical model brought about by French translation sociologists working in the tradition of Pierre Bourdieu. The theoretical introduction is followed by case studies of cultural transfer between Sweden and France, with a special focus on the 1960s and the 1980s respectively.

author Andreas Hedberg

Multilingualität und Mehr-Sprachlichkeit in der Gegenwartsliteratur, ed. Michaela Reinhardt & Antje Wischmann, 77-100. Freiburg: Rombach. 

published 2019