Publication details [#19010]

Simon, Sherry. 1999. Translating and interlingual creation in the contact zone: border writing in Quebec. In Bassnett-McGuire, Susan and Harish Trivedi, eds. Post-colonial translation: theory and practice (Translation Studies). London: Routledge. pp. 58–74.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language


This chapter discusses the work of Jacques Brault, Nicole Brossard and Danial Gagnon to illustrate modes through which language contact and translation become generative of literary work. In particular the author shows how cultural productions in Quebec play on language relationships in ways which baffle and upset official images of symmetrical dialogue, and how interlanguages become the basis for a new cultural aesthetics. Jacques Brault uses the process of “non-translation” to produce poetic texts which carry few marks of their initial provenance. Nicole Brossard’s novel Mauve Desert describes and enacts the work of translation, giving voice to the translator and finally integrating this translation work into the body of the book itself. Daniel Gagnon writes on the frontier between languages, producing double versions of texts which are written in a hybrid idiom, “my so bad English”. Working within different aesthetic projects, all three use interlinguistic exchange as theme or method and place translation at the heart of their creative work. Their work is self-consciously provocative, jarring traditional alignments, blurring boundaries of cultural identity, and writing against a cultural tradition which has been deeply suspicious of the work of translation.
abstract in book