Volume 12, No. 4 
October 2008

Dr. Samuel Kolawole Adewuni Salawu

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How to Face Challenging Symbols: Translating Symbols from Persian to English
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The Literary Translator and the Concept of Fidelity: Kirkup's Translation of Camara Laye's L'Enfant noir as a Case Study
by Kolawole, S. O. and Salawu, Adewuni

  Translator Education
The Acquisition of Translation Competence through Textual Genre
by V. Montalt Ressurrecció, P. Ezpeleta Piorno, I. García Izquierdo

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  Translation Journal

Literary Translation

The Literary Translator and the Concept of Fidelity:

Kirkup's Translation of Camara Laye's L'Enfant noir as a Case Study

Kolawole, S. O. and Salawu, Adewuni
Department of French, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria


The paper critically analyzes the English translation of Camara Laye's L'Enfant noir. It also explores the practical possibility of fidelity in literary translation. Since fidelity as a major translation criterion has been understood or misunderstood in many ways, this writer feels that it is essential to investigate the subject in order to ascertain whether fidelity is actually possible, particularly in literary translation, using a novel of an African author translated by a European as a case study.

The paper relies on Saint Jérôme's theory of 'non verbum pro verbo, sed sensum exprimere de sensu' (not word-for-word but sense-for-sense), the forerunner of the Interpretative Method propounded by the Paris School o Interpreters and Translators, University of Paris III, to analyze the English translations done by James Kirkup. The paper concludes that fidelity is a possibility in literary translation using the interpretative method.



iterary translation implies the translation of all genres of literature, which include prose, drama and poetry. Johnson (1999:1) describes literature as 'an apparently nebulous body of knowledge in oral or written form, an imitation of life, which reflects civilization and culture, and which covers every angle of human activities-culture, tradition, entertainment, information among others.' It is one of the great creative and universal means of communicating the emotional, spiritual and intellectual concerns of humankind.

Literary translation has to do with translating texts written in a literary language, which abounds in ambiguities, homonyms and arbitrariness, as distinct from the language of science or that of administration. Literary language is highly connotative and subjective because each literary author is lexically and stylistically idiosyncratic and through his power of imagination, he uses certain literary techniques such as figures of speech, proverbs and homonyms through which he weaves literary forms.

The literary translator is therefore the person who concerns himself with translation of literary texts. A literary translator, according to Peter Newmark (1988:1) generally respects good writing by taking into account the language, structures, and content, whatever the nature of the text. The literary translator participates in the author's creative activity and then recreates structures and signs by adapting the target language text to the source language text as closely as intelligibility allows. He needs to assess not only the literary quality of the text but also its acceptability to the target reader, and this should be done by having a deep knowledge of the cultural and literary history of both the Source and the Target Languages.

Literary translation may be said to have the greatest number of peculiar problems. Problems in literary translation largely depend on who is translating and what he knows.

The problems of literary translation include cultural, linguistic, psychological, deceptive cognates, equivalence, and style.

Language and culture are closely related and one is indispensable to the other. In fact, language acquires its meaning from the country's culture. A single language may cross several culture borders. For instance, English and French are Indo-European languages but belong to different cultures. There are generally problems in the translation of cultural words in a literary text unless there is a cultural overlap between the source language and the target language. It is not enough for a translator to know what words are used in the target language; he must also make the reader understand the sense as it is understood by the reader of the original. For instance, in a text where there is a cultural focus, there can be translation problems due to the cultural gap between the source and the target languages.

The meaning of a single word or expression is largely derived from its culture. Therefore, translation, being a simple linguistic process, a cultural understanding comes into play because the translator is supposed to produce equivalence and where this does not exist, problems occur. Okolie (2000:208) affirms that:

"Most of African literature is a rendering of 'living manners'...If translated by someone who is not conversant with or close to the culture and the specifics that make it alive, then the translation resulting horn such a text fails to communicate the spirit of the culture producing a sterile, literal translation, which does not re-create or reproduce the people."

The translator is expected to creatively exploit the altered cultural, linguistic and literary context in order to realize the different potentials of the target language in an act or literary creation since translation is an intercultural activity.

Linguistically, each language has its own metaphysics, which determines the spirit of a nation and its behavioral norms, and this is what is known as linguistic relativity or the Whorfian hypothesis. Benamjn Lee Whorl, quoted by Penn ( 977:2 17) believes that 'the background linguistic system (...) of each language is itself the shaper of ideas....' This means that language directs our intellect and even our sensory perception. Since words or images may vary considerably from one group to another, the translator needs to pay attention to the style, language and vocabulary peculiar to the two languages in question in order to produce an 'exact' translation of the source language text.

The literary translator also faces the problem of style. Style is not an easy term to define, however, it can readily be said that style is how one says a thing. In other words, style is the way in which something is written or said, as distinct from its subject matter. Naturally, each language poses its own problems of style, but the practical considerations that go into the making of translation do not seem to differ much from one translator to another.

The Interpretative Theory and the literary Translation

The interpretative theory of translation, also known as the theory of sense translation (1976:4) and semantic /communicative translation (1988:39) was developed at the ESIT (Ecole Supérieure d'Interprètes et de Traducteurs) of the University of Paris III and made popular by Mesdames Danica Seleskovitch and Marianne Lederer. The Interpretative theory implies that the totality of the sense of the source text is understood and transmitted. This means that the interest of comparison of languages only has a limited interest for the analysis of translation. It is not the languages that are translated but the texts, that is, the discourse, in a bid to communicate.

According to Seleskovitch (1976:23-42), the invariant part of translation which is the sense has a contextual and dynamic value. It is the synthesis of style, connotation, the message and all which play significant roles in communication process to produce the sense. The interpretative theory therefore postulates that any reading done is part of the comprehension process of a text. The reader develops an interpretative process whereby he mobilizes all the cognitive operations whose product is the fully understood meaning.

Through the Interpretative theory (comprehension-deverbalization- reexpression), the process goes through reformulation, because all that is required is finding the same meaning in the target language. This is what Hurtado-Albir (1991:72) calls 'sense equivalence.' A translator is then described as being faithful in the interpretative conception of translation if he is faithful to the sense and not necessarily to the words and expressions in the Source Language Text.

Concept of Fidelity in Translation

Guralnik (1979), in Webster's English Dictionary, writes that "faithfulness/fidelity" means "the quality of being accurate, reliable, and exact." In that case, the meaning that best matches the source text's meaning is the one that best complies with the precision, accuracy, conformity to the original (adhesion to a fact, or to an idea). Translation implies a high degree of demand for exactitude, so that there can be effective communication between different languages and cultures. Fidelity as a key word in translation has been understood and interpreted in many ways by different translators. To some translation critics of translation, faithfulness in translation is just a word-for-word transmission of message from the source text to the target text, while some believe that fidelity to the source text is adopting the free, idiomatic method in passing on the message. On the other hand, unduly free translations may not necessarily be considered as a betrayal or infidelity. This is because sometimes they are done for the purpose of humor to bring about a special response from the receptor language speakers.

Fidelity in translation is passing of the message from one language into another by producing the same effect in the other language, (in sense and in form), in a way that the reader of the translation would react exactly as the reader of the original text. The relationship of fidelity between the original and its translation has always preoccupied translators, but the problem is, as far as translation is concerned, one should decide to whom, to what the supposed fidelity pertains. Is it fidelity to the proto-text, to the source culture, to the model of the reader, or to the receiving culture? Is it possible to have exactly the same translation of the same text done by different translators? And/or to what extent can a translator be accurate or exact in his translation? The majority of translators agree that translators should be adequately familiar with both the Source and the Target Language, but there is a less agreement on 'faithful' translation and the way in which linguistics should be employed

Amparo Hurtado-Albir (1990:118) defines fidelity in relation to three things, which are (1) What the author means to say, (2) The target language and (3) the reader. According to her,

Fidelity is three-fold relationship to the author's intentions, to the target language and to the reader of the translation is indissociable. If one remains faithful to only one of these parameters and betrays the remaining ones, he cannot be faithful to the sense. (Our translation).

Faithfulness to the original means faithfulness not only at the level of words, the content, and the period, but also at the level of the author and the genesis of the meaning (sense) he is transmitting. To understand the sense of a text, therefore, the translator must grasp the intent of the author. As we demonstrate in this paper, James Kirkup, in his translation of Camara Laye's L'Enfant noir, shows both linguistic and extra- linguistic familiarity with the author and his works. It is this extra-linguistic knowledge that provides him with the cognitive complement necessary for his work.

Camara Laye wrote L'Enfant noir as a student in France. Having run out of money and as a result of his loneliness in Paris, he developed a nostalgic feeling for home and especially for the events of his youth as they came flooding his memory. He began to write the memories of his childhood in Kouroussa and Tindican and this is what is contained in this well-known novel, which recaptures his past. A masterful literary translator, James Kirkup, translated virtually all of Camara Laye's novels, viz: L'Enfant noir in 1954 as The African Child, Le Regard du roi in 1955 as The Radiance of the King, Dramouss in 1970 as A Dream of Africa and Le Maître de la Parole (1978) as the Guardian of the Word (1980).

A close study of L'Enfant noir (The African Child) reveals to the reader that the work is an autobiography. The contents of the novel show that it is more of a narration of events of Laye's life. L'Enfant noir tells the story of an African child and his subsequent emergence to manhood and his final departure for France. The episodes of Laye's life are artistically narrated by Laye himself in L'Enfant noir and faithfully translated into English by Kirkup.

James Kirkup's translation of L'Enjant noir as The African Child

The evaluation of the English translation of L'Enfant noir as The African Child in this work is effected on four planes, that is, stylistic, semantic, metalinguistic, and pragmatic planes. It is only proper to state at this point that a critique of any translation does not necessarily suggest a condemnation of the work but rather identifies areas of faithfulness to or departure from the original text. In fact, as Newmark (1988:187) rightly affirms, 'good translations can and do tolerate a number of errors.' James Kirkup's English translation of Camara Laye's novels is not and cannot be an exception. Although a few shortcomings may he found in a translation, it is possible for the translator, particularly of a literary text to remain faithful to the original work in both content and form.

As Kelly (1979:42) writes, a good literary translator has three major tasks ahead of him. 1) He must understand the theme and the style of the original text 2) He must be able to reconcile the different linguistic structures of the texts and 3) He must be able to reconstruct the original linguistic structures in the target language. All these functions of the translator would guide our critical evaluation of James Kirkup's translations.

There are two versions of the English translations of the novel L'Enfant noir. It was first translated into English under the title The Dark Child by James Kirkup and Ernest Jones, with an introduction by Philippe Thoby-Marcelin. That version was published in New York by Farrar Straus and Giroux in 1954 and was reprinted in 1969.

This first English title is a literal transposition of the French title The Dark Child. Apart from being a literal translation, it is also pejorative in meaning. The adjective 'dark' has a negative connotation and it is not on the same connotational level as 'noir' in French. It also fails to express the dignity of the African child and his traditional values which Camara Laye portrays in the original text. The adjective of color (dark) used falsifies the 'vouloir dire' of the author. It should be noted that Camara Laye is not only interested in the color of the skin but also in the cultural values of the African people. For example, L'Enfant noir, literally should translate The Black Child, and not The Dark Child as published in English. The choice of literary translation title may be governed by cultural considerations; it may also represent modulation or even embody the translator's interpretation of the contents of he original work.

Another version of the same novel , although, with same content, was released under the title The African Child by James Kirkup only, with an introduction by William Plomer and published by Collins, London, in 1954. With this choice, one is apt to say that his approach represents his interpretation or the work and the realities it evokes. The title of this second version, published in 1959 by Fontana, demonstrates from the beginning the cultural theme of traditional Africa and the universal theme of childhood and the subsequent growth to adulthood. The use of Africa here is very symbolic. It symbolizes Africa as a protector. It is indeed an interpretation of the original version

Structurally, Kirkup focuses more on arranging his English words according to English syntax and not according to French syntax (Laye's language in L'Enfant noir) in order to satisfy his English-language readers. In most cases, Kirkup seems to have adopted Saint Jerome's theory of 'non-verbum pro verbo sed sensum exprimere de sensu' otherwise known as the sense translation or the interpretative theory of translation.

Kirkup's translation strategy is not to produce word-for-word equivalence, but rather to discover and use idiomatic equivalence between the Source Language (French) and the target Language (English). In doing so, Kirkup establishes a compromise between the African and European cultures. His concern for fidelity is manifested, among other things, in his respect for the entire texts he translated. His use of thought-for-thought equivalence, (that is, dynamic equivalence) enables him to interpret accurately and render the message in idiomatic English. He carefully avoids linguistic calques by replacing French idiomatic expression with their specific English equivalents. That is, instead of translating knotty idiomatic expressions word-for-word, he resorts to the use of the direct equivalents. For example: 'Une carrière où vous serez perpetuellement treize la douzaine (p. 206)' translated as 'Clerks are ten a penny.' The expression is simply showing that the job of the clerks is insignificant or even worthless.

Although in a few cases, particularly where there are omissions and explanations, the translator may not have followed the original version in a line-by-line format, the overall translation is generally very close to the original both in style and message. When one scans the translation, the familiar traits of Camara Laye's prose are easily recognized. One of those traits is Laye's frequent interrogative pattern often expressed in a free indirect style by way of rhetorical questions. The idealistic and self-conscious commentary and rhetorical questions are carefully worked out and are well demonstrated in the English translation of the novel. The interrogative method is very common in all of Laye's works and is always adequately transposed by Kirkup in his English translations. For instance, at the very beginning of the novel Laye writes:

J'étais enfant et je jouais près de la case de mon père. Quel âge avais-je en ce temps là? (p.9)

(I was little boy playing round my father's hut.
How old would I have been at that time? (p. 11)).

The rhetoric question style is pronounced in the following passage. James Kirkup understands that just like any child likes asking questions which are direct and simple, Camara Laye does not beat about the bush in his conversations. This is well illustrated in the scene where Camara Laye's father tells him about the significance of the little black snake. Also, the scene after Kouyaté's father dealt with the big boy who always bullied his son at school:

Ce jour-là, il ne fut plus question de quarantaine; Kouyaté et sa soeur se mèlèrent à nous sans qu'aucun des grands élevât ou fit le moindre signe. Est-ce qu'un nouveau climat déjà s'instaurait? Il semble bien (p. 112-113).

(That day, there was no longer any question of sending Kouyaté and his sister to Coventry: they mingled with us freely, and none of the big boys dared raise his voice in protest or lift a finger to us. Was a new era beginning? It felt like it (p.75)).

As mentioned earlier, James Kirkup also skillfully adopts the use of dialogue by Laye. The question and answer technique used by Laye to clarify the story is actually well replicated by Kirkup. In addition, the direct conversational style used by Laye is faithfully adhered to in the English translation. Kirkup, in his translation makes use of terms that seek a style that is more compatible with the subject it conveys. For example, when the child is asking about the little snake, the following dialogue ensues:

- Pêre, quel est ce petit serpent qui te fait visite?

- De quel serpent parles tu?

- Eh bien! du petit serpent noir que ma mère me défend de tuer.

- Ah! Fit-il? (p. 18)

('My father, what is that little snake that comes to visit you'

'What snake do you mean?

'Why, the little black. snake that my mother forbids us from killing'

'Ah,' he said. (p.16-17)

From the passage quoted above, it could be affirmed that dramatic effect of the original version is retained in the English translation with dialog. Kirkup presents the scenes as practically as possible, and makes the reader to have the feeling as if participating in the dram of the rice harvest. The translation of the scenes of the transformation of gold and the scenes of the Konden Diara rituals are also typical examples of creating the same dramatic effect as in the original version.

In any literary translation, stylistic adequacy and appropriateness are very desirable in any translation activity. In fact, they are as important as grammatical accuracy in literary translations. It is therefore expedient to state that good translators should take the problem of style very seriously. Part of the success of the Kirkup's translation of L'Enfant noir is the style, which is simple, comic, and sometimes dramatic. Although not an African, Kirkup, was able to grasp the true qualities of African writing. He thus identified with the people of Africa, their aspirations and hopes, their culture, history and soul. Kirkup accordingly translated, into English, Camara Laye's original presentation of Africa in French as a coherent society with a consistent way of life, which appears devoid of vulgarity. Camara Laye's use of the question and answer technique is one of the styles adopted by Kirkup to clarify his story.

Another of the many techniques used by James Kirkup is amplification, whereby Kirkup adds more information to the original text for the reader to be able to understand the significance of metaphoric expressions. By amplification, we refer to situations when the target text contains more words than to make the message clearer. For example:

Et puis, où nous étions, ne permettait pas de se tenir à l'écart. En décembre, tout est en fleur et tout sent bon et tout est jeune (pp. 64-65).

(Besides, at the particular season, it was impossible not to wait to join in everything. In our December, the whole world is in flower and the air is sweet. All is young and fresh (p. 17))

Here, "December' becomes 'our December,' 'tout' becomes 'whole world,' and 'jeune' becomes 'young and fresh.'

Modulation is another technique used by Kirkup whereby the Source Language's grammatical point of view is changed without necessarily causing any damage to the meaning expressed in the Target Language. Kirkup particularly uses the technique where the Source Language sentence or phrase cannot be translated word-for-word. For instance, the use of 'soothsayer' in African Child instead of 'diseurs des choses cachées' used in L'Enfant noir' implies a wider meaning and retains the pragmatic and concise nature of the English language.

From the above, it could also be inferred that, on a strictly linguistic plane, the structure of English is more dynamic. English accepts a greater variety of derivations and composition options than French does. For example, 'green-looking,' cannot be translated word-for-word into French. Such words are mostly ignored by French, particularly in the areas of adjectivation of the noun and verbal forms, e. g. very green-looking islands, for 'les îles apparaissaient très vertes.'

Translators, in an attempt to solve the problem of omission, use compensation and explicitation, techniques, which James Kirkup also used in his translations. Compensation is, according to Hervey and Higgins (1992:248), the technique of making up for the translation of important Source Text features by approximating their effects in the Target Text through means other than those used in the Source Text. By explicitation, we mean 'the process of introducing information into the Target Language which is present only implicitly in the Source Language but which can be derived from the context or the situation' (Vinay and Darbelnet, 1958:8).

In James Kirkup's translation, there is the proof of the transposition method used in the translation. Transposition, as the name implies, is a situation whereby two or more items change positions in translation. it is a technique by which a particular part of speech in the Source Language is replaced by another in the Target language without altering the meaning of the Source Language sentences. For example:

Ces faucilles allaient et venaient avec rapidité, avcc une infallibilité aussi, qui surprenaient (p. 58)

(These sickles kept rising and falling with astonishing rapidity and regularity (p. 47).

Allaient et venaient has to do with movement from one place to the other, while 'rising and falling' does not indicate any change of position, that is, there is no movement from one place to the other.

- Mais je ne veux pas devenir un ouvrier! Dis-je
- Pourquoi le deviendrais-tu? (p. 206).

(That I do not want to be a workman! I said
- 'Why not? (pp. 127-128).

Kirkup translates 'pourquoi le deviendrais-tu? as 'Why not? using transposition method. Whether the question is asked negatively or positively does not matter here; rather, what counts is to know why he wants or why he does not want to become a workman. It should be noted that in literary translation, each modality requires specific competence according to the features of each translation. This is why the competence translator is not the same as that of a technical translator. A literary translator, as a matter of necessity, should have the traits of a literary person and the pertinent literary expertise to catch the information given in a text and re-express it according to the rules of the language. It is only when a translator does not recognize what he is up to that he records what can be called infidelity, because he will misinterpret the sense. For example:

Tu n'as pas done le ventre creux? disait-il
Le mien est si creux que je pourrais y loger un boeuf (p. 58).

'Is there a hole in your stomach? He would ask me
'I could stable an ox in mine, I am so hungry' (p.52).

The use of tenses in the Kirkup's English translation of L'Enfant noir is very significant. In English, there are only two main tenses, that is, present and past tenses while French has more than two tenses. In literary translation, one of the most delicate issues is the translation of verbal forms i.e. the translation of the preterit, particularly in situations where they accumulate values of many tenses at the same time. In English, the preterit has a basic meaning, indicating that the event or the state being described has already broken away from the moment of enunciation. Therefore, the preterit is most often translated into either the simple past or the imperfect and at times into the past historic.

The two mostly used tenses in Kirkup's works are the past tense and the past historic. However, there are instances where the present tense and the past continuous (l'imparfait) tenses are used. The 'passé simple' known as the literary historic past or the simple past is extensively used especially in historical accounts. Kirkup uses essentially the same stylistic devices and tenses as they are used in the original French version. There is absolute unity and coherence in the translation in relation to tenses, character, scenes and even in story-telling. For instance,

Autour de moi, on menait grand bruit; ma mère surtout criait fort et elle me donna quelques claques. Je me mis à pleurer, plus ému par le tumulte qui s'était si opinément élevé, que par les claques que j'avais reçues (p.10).

(There was a terrific commotion going on round me; my mother was shouting harder than anyone; and she gave me a few sharp slaps. I began to weep. more upset by the sudden uproar than by the blows I had received (p. 12)).

The use of the historical tense fixes events clearly in space and in time and this is contrasted with the use of the imperfect to relate to events which are not unique or which recur throughout his childhood and adolescence, for example, his visit to Tindican, his years at the local school and his outings with Marie.

In the description of the rice harvest, for example, Camara Laye uses the past continuous tense to keep the general scene before the eyes of the readers; this idea is also kept alive in Kirkup's translation. For example,

Les jeunes lançaient leurs faucilles en l'air et les rattrappaient au vol, poussaicnt des cris, criaient à vrai dire pour Ie plaisir de crier, esquissaient des pas de danse à la suite des joueurs de tam-tam. (p. 64).

[The young men used to toss their glittering sickles high in the air and catch them as they fell, shouting aloud for the simple pleasure of hearing their own strong young voices and sketching a dance step or two on the heels of the tom-tom players. (p.46).

At his best, Camara Laye's uses of the past continuous tense is to demonstrate that he lives through the various experiences recounted, showing his growth within the traditional society. The change of tense from the imperfect tense to the present in some passages reflects the child's growth into awareness and corresponding, of innocence and conveys changes in thoughts and in actions. Kirkup not only translates with clarity the text but also makes the target text reader understand the 'vouloir-dire,' that is, the intent of the author through the change in tenses.

On the metalinguistic level, as we know, language is at the same time the mirror of a culture and its instrument of analysis. Vinay and Darbeluct (1958:229) define metalinguistics as 'l'ensemble des rapports qui unissent des faits sociaux, culturels et psychologiques, aux structures linguistiques' (the totality of links which unite social, cultural and psychological facts with linguistic structures). The divergences between two languages are enormous on the metalinguistic plane. We observe that James Kirkup noted these facts because the equivalencies given reflect this knowledge. For example:

Les griots

Praise singers

La concession

Household/ Compound

Praise singing, like the one recorded in L'Enfant noir and translated in The African Child, is intended to have a stimulating effect on the individual being praised. It may not, however, be easy to find the direct equivalent, but the message can be communicated using terms such as 'thou,' 'thy,' 'shall,' which are invocative. This procedure does not suggest infidelity; rather it proves further the linguistic and cultural competence of the translator.

In a literary translation, as we discussed earlier, it is not impossible to have fidelity in translation in terms of message and form. This, however, does not suggest that there cannot be mistranslations or errors in translation. It is essential to note here that even though some critics see Kirkup's translations as presenting difficulties, (cf. Adèle King, 1980) which make them to judge him as not being faithful in his translations. Kirkup's translations could be deemed adequate and acceptable in the light of our explanation. The omission of some sentences or paragraphs in the English version of L'Enfaiit noir suggests a remarkable sense of equivalence and not infidelity. It has to be reiterated here that each text calls for an interpretation by the reader. The translator, more than just any interested reader, is the reader par excellence of the text he is translating. However, he may not be able to successfully translate the text if he does not in perceive the extra-linguistic reality in the text or if he does not set aside his own emotions.

One may wish to stress here that some of the avoidable omissions observed in the translation do not actually have a negative effect on the overall sense in the final analysis. This is because most of these sections that are omitted are seen to be repeating what has already been said earlier, particularly where Laye explains the powers of the child born immediately after a set of twins, yet the omissions are translation errors because repetitions could be a style intentionally adopted by the original author.

From the above, we can see that Kirkup, as a literary translator may not be completely wrong in not having used the exact words as in the Source Text or in having added new words in order to faithfully translate the sense of the Source Text. What actually matters is preserving the message as Camara Laye has originally intended and making it acceptable to the reader of the Target Text. This corroborates Henry Rider's opinion about the translation of literary texts (quoted by Okolie, 2000: 215), who is also quoting Lawrence Venutti, (1965: 6-7). According to him:

Translations of authors from one language to another are like old garments turned into new fashions; in which though the stuff be still the same, yet the dye and trimming are altered, and in the making here, something added, there, something cut away.

Since Kirkup does not concern himself with only the transfer of words but also with the transfer of the integral sense of the novel, many repetitions are simply omitted in the English translation without having, to the best of our knowledge, any negative effect on the overall meaning. Generally, any form of communication, and indeed translation, is subject to the semiotic law of loss. Nida says, "If one is to insist that translation must involve no loss of information whatsoever then, obviously not only translating hut all communication is impossible (Nida, 1959: 13). A literary translator, in some cases, does not bother with the problem of the translation loss not because he is not aware of it but because he has to resign to the inevitability of such a loss.

Kirkup also maintains transparency with the use of simple English in an attempt to ensure easy readability, he adheres to current usage of the English language (except on the few occasions when he uses archaic language to create some effect on the speeches made by the 'griots' or other elderly people). In the French version, Camara Laye has written in purely Parisian French. There is practically no interference of the Guinean French, which makes it very easy for James Kirkup to maintain transparency, as he does not need to consult people to understand the cultural affiliation of a word.



Evaluation constitutes an important aspect of practical literary translation. It brings into focus the theories of linguistic relativity and the language universals, which posits that human languages have more things in common than they have differences by virtue of being vehicles of human communication. In this regard, we discover that the comparative and contrastive stylistic analysis of the French and English-language texts are brought into contact in this thesis.

Our assessment of James Kirkup's translations in this study is based on target language and target culture-oriented translation theories, particularly the interpretative theory focused on 'the sense' rather than 'the word.' We have, in this paper attempted to trace the problems of literary translation to the nature of the literary text itself as a cultural and artistic product. We discovered that emphasis has shifted from the form of the Source Text to the responses of the receptor; therefore, the response of the receptor to the translated message now plays an important role in determining faithfulness and acceptability. The target reader's response is compared with the responses of the readers of the original text to confirm adequacy in the transfer. This implies that faithfulness must then be explained in terms of the average reader whereby emphasis is placed on the fact that faithfulness is the degree to which the average reader reacts to the translated message just as the receptor reacts to the original text

The above is not to say that there are no problems in Kirkup's translation arising directly or indirectly from the nature of language itself in particular and interlingual communication in. We see that translation of literary texts just like Kirkup's necessarily entails a process of acculturation to ensure readability and acceptability of the Target Text in a different cultural milieu. It can therefore be asserted that Kirkup's translation is successful by approaching the two ideals needed in literary translation, namely fidelity and authenticity. A rigorous word-for-word copy of the original would lose much of the impact of the writing not only because cultural differences would be ignored, but also because factors such as idioms would be trampled upon. For these reasons, word-for-word translations often result in nonsense as can be seen in translations generated by many machine translation systems. James Kirkup actually adopts techniques such as transposition, explicitation, and modulation among others, which assist him in finding suitable contextual equivalents.

This paper has shown James Kirkup to be a faithful translator in the way he expresses in English Camara Laye's French works, thereby showing that vital stylistic and semantic initiatives can be faithfully transferred into another language.



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