Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 2(7), pp. 211 - 215
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2014.020706
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Lost in Translation: An Exploration of Political Writing during Anti-imperial Struggles in Burma in the Late 1930s, with a Particular Emphasis on Works of Translation


Joanne Money *
University of Sunderland, UK

ABSTRACT

During the late 1930s an evolution of Burmese writing took place, which was marked by a conscious movement to introduce new ideas in literature that would motivate the Burmese people to rise up against the British in a bid for independence. Works from western authors were adapted to reflect the growth of national feeling in Burma. The aim of this paper will be to question how far and to what extent can a work of translation become a political tool. Further, what is translation anyway? Translations are never written in a vacuum nor are they received in one, therefore can the translator position himself within the actual text produced, so that the translation will be so close to the cultural centre of the target audience that the translation might become the original? Using a form of discourse analysis this paper will examine the work of Thein Pe in particular and the role of the Nagani Book club to question how far translations can indeed become political and to what extent they were successful as a tool of nationalism. The difference between a work of translation and an adaptation is slight. In his foreword to his 1940 novel ‘oil' Thein Pe describes himslef as a translator, and his novel as a work of adaptation. I would argue that the cultural dichotomy between two opposing rationales (East and West) was at the crux of the political/literary debate during this period. This can be examined on several different levels: Eastern vs Western perspective, or capitalist vs socialist ideology, nevertheless the question remains: can a literary translation be termed political and if so to what extent.

KEYWORDS
Translation, Politics, Nationalism, Literature, Burma

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Joanne Money , "Lost in Translation: An Exploration of Political Writing during Anti-imperial Struggles in Burma in the Late 1930s, with a Particular Emphasis on Works of Translation," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 2, No. 7, pp. 211 - 215, 2014. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2014.020706.

(b). APA Format:
Joanne Money (2014). Lost in Translation: An Exploration of Political Writing during Anti-imperial Struggles in Burma in the Late 1930s, with a Particular Emphasis on Works of Translation. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 2(7), 211 - 215. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2014.020706.