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On ne naît pas femme: on le devientThe Life of a Sentence$
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Bonnie Mann and Martina Ferrari

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190608811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190608811.001.0001

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Challenges in Translating Beauvoir

Challenges in Translating Beauvoir

(p.287) 14 Challenges in Translating Beauvoir
On ne naît pas femme: on le devient

Marybeth Timmermann

Oxford University Press

Although the translator is given nothing but words and produces nothing but words, the translation process itself truly involves “navigating in a world of pure thought,” independent of words. It challenges the translator to not only study the author’s words, but internalize the very meaning behind those words. This fascinating process becomes all the more challenging when translating an author as thought-provoking and influential as Simone de Beauvoir. Translating Beauvoir presents many challenges due to the complexity of her thought, the limits and ambiguities inherent in any language, the connotations of common words, and the differences in linguistic norms between her era and ours. Timmermann discusses challenges such as translating Beauvoir’s use of “la femme” and “féminine” without introducing essentialist connotations and translating Beauvoir’s use of the masculine neutral without modernizing Beauvoir’s original.

Keywords:   Key Words, translation, Beauvoir, translation theory, translation as domestication, translation as foreignization

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