Translating Creolization
  • ISSN 2352-1805
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1813
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This paper explores the use of Creoles in Caribbean English Literature and how it tends to be translated into Spanish by analyzing the Spanish translations of two novels written by Caribbean author, Oonya Kempadoo. Kempadoo is a relatively new and unknown author. She was born in England to Guyanese parents and grew up in the Caribbean. She lived in several of the islands, including St. Lucia and Trinidad and at present resides in Grenada. Apart from being a novelist, she is a freelance researcher and consultant in the arts, and works with youth and international organizations, where she focuses on social development.

Her first novel, was published in 1998. Described as a semi-autobiography by , it has also been praised for being original and universal in the portrayal of its themes. It is the story of a young girl growing up in Guyana during the Burnham regime. It is written as a series of vignettes, which contributes to the seemingly quick development of Lula from childhood to adolescence, as she learns to explore her sexuality. This novel has been published in the United Kingdom and the United States, and has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Hebrew. The version used for this investigation was translated by Victor Pozanco and commissioned by Tusquets Publishers.

Kempadoo’s second novel, , also forms part of this investigation. As the 2002 winner of the Casa de las Américas Literary prize for Caribbean English and Creole, this novel was translated into Spanish by a Cuban translator as a part of the award. It is the story of an unambitious Tobagonian youth who becomes entangled in a bizarre relationship with an interracial couple. The story highlights several issues, such as poverty, race and social class differences, sex and right and wrong. As a researcher, I felt that it would be enlightening to see how a Caribbean translator, from a country (Cuba) with limited access to mass cultural currents commonplace elsewhere, handles this piece of prose which is so heavily steeped in Trinbagonian culture.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Caribbean; Creole; Culture bound elements; Literature; Translation
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