JoLIE 14:1/2021


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Felix Nicolau

Complutense University, Madrid






There is an indelible link between cultural translation and the Canon. Only translated works have the chance to penetrate the hierarchical list of values. This article studies the ideological sway that might affect translators when approaching their craft. If translators are imbued with ideology, they will automatically foster and ideologise the Canon. Therefore, this article focuses on the contributions of Haroldo do Campos regarding the cannibalistic and postcritical practice of translation, of Lawrence Venuti in respect of translation as hermeneutics and re-creation, and of Umberto Eco’s description of translation as incessant negotiation.

In this context, the degree of freedom in translating a cultural text is analysed in comparison with utilitarian translation. Is it ethical to re-create the source text to accommodate various historical and social compensations? Are marked paraphrasing and imitation a bridge for conveying a congruent message and form with the original text?

There are related questions that this paper addresses: is the instrumentalist model completely disjoined from the hermeneutic model, as Lawrence Venuti argued? Do we need an orienting chart to describe the degrees of liberty accepted in relation to various types of texts (cultural, technical, juridical, administrative etc.)? If translators invent readerships for older texts, what will those readerships eventually “consume”? Are Shakespeare, or Dante, read through an ideological and compensatory grid, the same authors that we have known previously? Marxian critical approaches are often accompanied with politically correct suggestions. Translators may face the risks of becoming not only perspicacious negotiators but withering officers in translation. The article tackles comparatively the approaches of the aforementioned scholars and their impact on the present-day Canon. In addition, the situation of ideological brutalism in selecting translators is analysed, as occurred in the case of Amanda Gorman’s poems.


Keywords: Ideologised translation; Translator as negotiator; Canon; Visibility of translator; Cannibalistic and post-critical practice of translation.





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Amanda Gorman rejects translator: Accessed 15 March, 2021.



How to cite this article: Nicolau, F. (2021). Translation as paraphrase/adaptation and its impact on the canon. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 14(1), 89-100. doi:



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