Self-Translation from the Self-translator’s Point of View
Naude’s (2011) debut work, a collection of short stories under the title Alfabet van die voids, was awarded a number of literary prizes, including the University of Johannesburg’s Debut Prize. He later translated the collection into English, Alphabet of birds (Naude 2015a).
Regarding the translation process, Naude (2015b: para. 19) explains that he had enjoyed “extensive freedom” because there was no need to consult an original author. In this, he echoes Brink’s sentiment that he could “invent and recreate as much as possible” (in Recuenco Penalver 2015:150). Geldenhuys (2019:158) describes Brink’s translation process as that of rewriting or even re-creation, under the authority of the author.
Naude (2015b: para. 19) views the English TT as faithful to its Afrikaans ST, but points out that he had to consider a number of choices that might have affected equivalence between the ST and TT. These can be grouped into stylistic and localisation considerations. Stylistic changes centred on issues of the rhythm and flow of the TT (i.e. idiomatic sentence structures), which necessitated a merging or rearranging of certain sentences. Localisation can be defined as adapting a text to the target audience’s setting by combining a sociocultural region and a language (Jimenez-Crespo 2013:12). In this respect, two important factors influenced Naude’s decisions: the differences between South African, British and American English, and the use of other languages that may have been accessible to Afrikaans readers, but not necessarily to English ones. Naude (2015b: para. 20) explains that he had to make decisions about words such as ‘mobile’ (denoting a mobile clinic in the Afrikaans text, which may potentially confuse British readers, where it denotes a cell phone), and ‘lift’ (even though perfect American English,‘elevator’ would have seemed too artificial or too formal for South African and British readers). Similarly, the word ‘bakkie’ (an Afrikaans loanword for ‘pickup truck’ in South African English) was changed to ‘pickup truck’ for the
Self-Translation of an Afrikaans Short Story by SJ Naude 135 sake of British and American readers. In the short story “A master from Germany”, some of the German phrases and sentences in the ST (which are easily understood by Afrikaans readers, as Afrikaans is closer to German than English) were replaced by English in rhe TT.
Geldenhuys (2019) explains that Brink sometimes wrote the whole ST first in Afrikaans and then translated it into English, e.g. with Philida, which was published in 2012. In other cases, he would write one chapter in Afrikaans and then translate that into English, and sometimes he wrote descriptive sections in one language and the dialogue in another. Naude (2015b: paragraph 21) describes his translation of Alphabet of birds as a “subsequent translation”, i.e. a translation which he underrook after finalisation and publication of the ST (evident from the three-year difference in publication date). However, as Brink sometimes did, Naude also wrote the dialogue of Alfabet van die vo 'els in English first and afterwards translated it into Afrikaans—having been abroad for such a long time meant that he no longer knew how people in South Africa spoke. It was only afterwards that he translated rhe stories themselves into English. Naude (2015b: para. 21) explains:
Given the tension between Afrikaans on the one hand and the setrings of my writing on the other, and given my sense that English is somehow simultaneously present, is there a way to push the two language worlds closer together in future? Perhaps the answer is to engage in a process of writing near-simultaneously in both languages ... Bur what is more, English was already present when I was originally writing in Afrikaans, a sort of parallel stream in my mind, or a running commentary. Maybe one shouldn't think of the process as writing in one language first and then performing a translation, but as two languages, and two worlds, occupying the same space and time. Superimposed on each other. A double exposure.
It seems that Naude followed this process of “writing near-simultane-ously” with his 2017 novel Die derde spoel, which was published that same year in English under the title The third reel.
The question that follows is whether Naude’s “extensive freedom” results in translations that are very close to the Afrikaans ST or translations that are freer. Toury (2012:69-70) refers to these respectively as ‘adequate’ and ‘acceptable’ translations, whereas Even-Zohar (1978:26-27) refers to them as ‘adequate’ and ‘non-adequate’ translations, respectively. For the purposes of this chapter, we refer to these respectively as ‘foreignised’ (close) and ‘domesticated’ (free) translations, following Venuti (2018). To answer this question, we employ Toury’s three-phased methodology for systematic DTS.