Problems of translating modern Scottish literature into French, with special reference to 'The crow road' by Iain Banks
This thesis, which is written in French, examines the problems of translating modem Scottish literature into French. To illustrate them, a case study on The Crow Road by lain Banks will be undertaken. A short introduction first establishes the content of the thesis, its different parts and the strategy that we have adopted to tackle our main problem. This is identified as the cultural "otherness" of Scottish writing, which has been to a greater or lesser degree occulted in French translations of Scottish Literature. Chapter I looks at theoretical aspects of translation from a thematic point of view ranging from a philosophical approach, through a linguistic one to various cultural approaches, with specific reference to Eugene Nida and Lawrence Venuti. Chapter II examines Scotland as a nation and as a country with important linguistic and cultural differences from its southern neighbour. We will see how important this separation is in literature and how some theorists have dealt in particular with the problem of translating the vernacular. Chapter III is devoted to the analysis of the French translations of four Scottish authors, James Kelman, William McIlvanney, Irvine Welsh and lain Banks. It examines passages from the texts but also emphasises the strategies adopted by the translators. Chapters IV and V focus on respectively on lain Banks and The Crow Road in order to provide thorough social and cultural contextualisation before considering ways of translating the novel. Chapter VI considers a number of potential strategies for translating sections of The Crow Road: a 'domesticated' one, a Nabokov style, the use of a French dialect and finally one using Venuti's concepts. The conclusion suggests that translators are free to choose between competing strategies, or even to mix them, but that what is crucial is to have a thorough knowledge of the source culture, and a conscious and apparent strategy, before approaching works as culturally laden as contemporary Scottish novels. The Translator may have to have the courage to offend against existing French translation norms if translation is to be truly trans cui tural.