The results of this preliminary survey indicate that exoticising translation is the preferred strategy for the Spanish translators, but not necessarily for the Catalan translator. However, it is also evident that all the translators are overly cautious and afraid that their readers will not understand the texts without explanatory footnotes and glossaries, suggesting that Afrindian literature is considered too exotic for the average Spanish reader.

Corpus Extraction

For convenience, the main results are summarised below, and the full corpus can be viewed in Zarandona (2020).

The analysis of Danger’s texts and their translations revealed that all three translators preferred exoticisation, albeit to different degrees, when dealing with Dangor’s Afrindian expressions.

In Z town trilogy (DI), I found 32 textual units in other languages, mainly (23) Afrikaans. Afrikaans units include: short expressions (e.g. Ag tog; jagse ding; kak-en-kou; ja-nee); single words (e.g. Baas, skenner, skennervrou); occasional full sentences (e.g. As jy nie off-jok nie gaan jy jou ma hier in die straat sien). The other nine samples include other South African languages, e.g. mampara (Zulu), tsamaya (Sotho), Skora Skora(Cape Coloured dialect), Scabarash (Cape Coloured dialect), ejaar (Malay) and even one French phrase, avant garde. The translator Estrella mirrors the multilingualism of the South African linguistic reality, retaining 51 per cent of the non-English ST units, mainly with explanations either in the text or in the glossary, e.g. ¡Ag tog!; Baas... 'Bass, «jefe» en afrikaans; «jagse ding»; As jy nie off-jok nie gaan jy jou ma hier in die straat sien. Jane la reprendió. Some cases of domestication are also present, e.g. “I am not a skennervrou" «No soy una chismosa»; “Befok that ausie» ->«Es rara esa forastera». Units in other languages evidenced similar mixed translation strategies. Some items are transferred, e.g. “the traditional ejaar that she wore” «del ejaar tradicional que llevaba»; “Masha-Allah! You look beautiful” -* «¡Masha-Allah. Está preciosa». Others are domesticated, e.g. “Hey wena, it’s time to get out of here” -» «Eh, tú, ya va siendo hora de que te largues de aquí».

Although Estrella reduced the level of exoticising in the TT, the result is still rather exotic for Spanish readers. This strategy was probably the right balance between respecting the original and attaining understanding and acceptance in the target language and culture.

Kafka’s curse (D2) and its translation (D2-T) are similar with regard to Dangor’s stylistic devices. The ST excerpt yielded 18 samples, 12 in Afrikaans, and the other six in Arabic, Hebrew and Asian languages.

The translator Vargas clearly favoured exoticising (89%), e.g. “this Helpmekaar Home?” -> «a los de esa Helpmekaar?»; “the living shame of a white hoer” -> «la vergüenza viviente de una hoer blanca»; “he looks like a chaar” -> «parece un chaar».

Bitter fruit (D3) and its translation (D3-T) yield similar results. The ST excerpt includes 17 relevant text units: 10 in Afrikaans, and the rest in Arabic and African languages (Swazi, Zulu, Sotho). The translator Maria Via also favours exoticising (53%), e.g. “He remembered how the police made them tauza” -» «Recordó cómo la policía les había hecho tauza»; “Her family calls him ‘ougat’ -> «Su familia le llama ougat».

Analysis of Vassanji’s ST The in-between world of Vikram Lail (VI) also revealed strong exoticising translation strategies. The ST yielded 49 units in other languages, notably Punjabi words (e.g. bhajias, samosas, dhokras, bhel-puri), and words and phrases in local African languages (Kikuyo, Masai) (e.g. panga, Tokeni nje! Sasa hivil). Unlike Dangor who included whole sentences, Vassiji restricted exotic terms to single words or short phrases. Both translators, Gemma Rovira Ortega (Spanish) and Xavier Pàmies (Catalan) make a real effort to retain this literary hybrid language (often with explanation or elaboration) in their translations (Vl-Tl: 90 per cent, V1-T2: 80 per cent), i.e. their overall strategies are exoticising:

Vl: “Indian families having stopped over in their cars for bhajias. samosas, dhokras, bhel-puri, and tea.” (2004:6)

Vl-Tl: las familias indias se detenían allí con sus coches para comprar bhajias, sarnosas, dhikras, bhel-puri y té. (2006a: 16)

V1-T2: moltes families indies hi paraven amb el cotxe per comprar-hi bha-jies, samases, dhokres, bhel-puri i te. (2006b: 14)

VL “The Mau-Mau are devils, I said, echoing my mother. Her term was ‘daityas’ from Mythology” (2004:27)

Vl-Tl: -Los mau-maus son demonios-dije, haciéndome eco de mi madre. La palabra que empleaba ella era daityas, de la mitología hindú (2006a:37)

V1-T2: Els Mau-Mau són dimonis, vaig dir, repetint el que deia la meva mare. La paraula que ella feia servir era el terme mitològic «daitya» (2006b:30).

However, the Catalan translator occasionally domesticates ST items, e.g. ‘daal’ -» llenties; ‘congresswallahs -» congressistes; ‘panga’ -> matxet. She also adapts some ST words to the Catalan spelling and pronunciation systems, e.g. ‘askaris’ -> àscaris, ‘coolie’ -> culi.

These data confirm my hypothesis. Exoticisation with the addition of notes and/or glossaries seems to be the best option when translating this kind of text.

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