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Taking Liberties: Ananda Devi translates David Dabydeen

Prof Julia Waters (University of Reading, UK)

Taking Liberties: Ananda Devi translates David Dabydeen

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My paper will explore the complex network of transcolonial connections underpinning the French-language translation of Anglo-Guyanese writer David Dabydeen’s The Counting House by Indo-Mauritian author and translator, Ananda Devi. Focusing on language at both thematic and formal levels, it will investigate Devi’s responses, in Terres maudites, to the striking heteroglossia of Dabydeen’s source text – particular his use of Creole and Indian terms - and consider how Devi’s personal understanding of the novel’s historical, cultural and linguistic contexts influences some of the translational approaches and creative liberties taken. Focusing on comparative examples from both texts, my paper seeks to emphasise the need, in Translation Studies, to pay due attention to the identity of translators and hence to the individual and contextual influences that so profoundly shape their engagements with source text, languages and cultures.