Item Details

Metaphors, women and translation: from les belles infidèles to la frontera

Issue: Vol 7 No. 1 (2013) Gender, language and translation at the crossroads of disciplines

Journal: Gender and Language

Subject Areas: Gender Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/genl.v7i1.97


One of the main concerns of translation theory from the 17th century till today has been the problem of how to be faithful to the original text. Further, this concern regarding both the origin and the originality of the source text has given rise to numerous metaphors in connection with gender and sexuality. In this article I undertake an overview of the history of gender metaphors in translation as found in the writings of translators and theorists from all periods. Through the metaphors appearing in their texts, I examine how authors such as Gilles Menáge, Friedrich Schleiermacher and George Steiner perpetuate the patriarchal stereotypes, and how Gloria Anzaldúa, Jacques Derrida, Carol Maier, Maria-Mercè Marçal, Carolyn Shread and other authors seek to go beyond these stereotypes by forging new metaphors. I have made use of Derridian terminology to rename the three parts of the article: 1) The First Age or les belles infidels – the age of sexist and androcentric sexual metaphors; 2) The Second Age or the Derridian ‘double bind’ – the age in which Derrida presents a model of metaphor which, despite using sexual language, defends the woman and translation; and 3) The Third Age or the new metaphors – the age of non-sexual metaphors.

Author: Pilar Godayol

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