Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe
On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
SPIES, Carla-Marié and FEINAUER, Ilse. Ideological considerations in the Afrikaans translation of Anne Frank's diary, Het Achterhuis. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2011, vol.51, n.2, pp.107-123. ISSN 2224-7912.
This article investigates the ideological considerations in the decision making process of the translation of Anne Frank's diary, Het Achterhuis, into Afrikaans, Die Agterhuis. It analyses how the translator succeeds in rendering a translation which is authentic to the source text by remaining faithful to it and by conveying the voice and style of the original author into Afrikaans. In 2008, more than 60 years after Anne Frank's diary, Het Achterhuis, was first published in Dutch (1947), Lina Spies translated it into Afrikaans, with the title, Die Agterhuis. For the first time this famous diary was made available in Afrikaans. This diary has been rewritten and republished in Dutch a number of times as well as translated into over 60 languages. It has also been reworked into different genres, such as musicals and plays. Quite a number of these rewrites and translations rendered versions of the diary that were adapted and manipulated to such an extent that the resulting target texts can be regarded as unfaithful to the original/source text. These manipulations are mostly ideological in nature and mainly entail omitting and/or down toning entries in the diary which are of a strong ideological nature. In his adaptation of the diary, Anne's father, Otto Frank, for example omits entries where Anne depicted her mother in a bad light. Quite a number of the rewrites and translations omit the entries where Anne wrote from a feministic viewpoint about the emancipation of women (Lefevere 1992:64). Especially in German translations the entries where Anne wrote about the severity of the war and the Holocaust, which put the Nazis and Gestapo in a bad light, were rewritten to come across as less severe than they really were. An example of this is Anne's description of the German police on how to kill hostages: "zet de Gestapo doodgewoon een stuk of 5 gijzelaars tegen de muur" (the Gestapo simply puts 5 hostages or so against the wall) which was translated into German as: "dann hat man einen Grund, eine Anzahl dieser Geiseln zu erschiessen" (one then has a reason to shoot a number of these hostages). Lefevere (1992:68) argues that by using the word "man" (one) instead of specifically "Gestapo", the description is less explicit. The link between the severe deed and the German Gestapo is non-existent. Furthermore, the deed is justified in the target text because it is mentioned "das man einen Grund [hat]" to do it. Lefevere (1992:68) also mentions that by using merely "erschiessen" (shoot) instead of conveying the idea of the people being lined up against a wall, makes the deed less shocking. The inhumanity of the act which is conveyed in the Dutch source text is therefore lost in the ideologically manipulated German target text. Because the diary of Anne Frank is an ego document/autobiographical work (in the form of a diary) where the thoughts and feelings of a real person are portrayed, as well as a text which serves as a type of documentation of the Holocaust, it is of great importance that rewrites and translations of the diary be as faithful as possible to the source text. The manipulated versions of the diary led to the falsification of the voice of the author, Anne Frank, which Lefevere (1992) refers to as "the construction of different Anne Franks". The translator, Spies, as an agent of power in the translation process, believes that the nature of an autobiographical work and a documentation of The Second World War and the Holocaust call for authenticity and that the translator of these genres is therefore compelled to be subservient, to an extent, to the authority of the source text and the source text author. Spies therefore tries to remain as close to the source text as possible, whilst translating it into idiomatic Afrikaans (Spies 2008a:14). According to Spies (2007:10) the purpose of her Afrikaans translation is to serve as a reaction against the manipulated versions of the diary, which led to the falsification thereof and the falsely constructed image of Anne presented to the world. In order to render a target text which is authentic to the source text and reflects the voice and writing style of the source text author, the overall approach Spies followed in the Afrikaans translation in terms of culture and ideology is one of foreignization (Venuti 1995). This approach entails that a target text is produced by purposefully breaking conventions of both the target text language and culture to retain a part of the strangeness of the source text in the target text (Venuti 1995). All pragmatic and contextual references, such as cultural, political and religious references in the source text are therefore preserved in the target text and rendered as faithfully as possible. Translation strategies such as calques and cultural borrowing are applied and the translator makes use of older or Netherlandistic Afrikaans expressions, words and idioms in order to convey the voice and style of the author. The purpose is to make the target text seem as if it were written by the original author, but in Afrikaans. Because the target text is mainly foreignized, Spies frequently made use of paratext (the introduction, footnotes, epilogue and afterword) which accompany the diary entries to provide background information on the source text and author, in order to justify certain decisions made during the translation process and to clarify or explain some references in the target text which the target text readership will most likely not understand or be familiar with (Spies 2011). The combination of foreignization and paratext makes the target text more faithful to the source text, whilst rendering it acceptable, accessible and comprehensible to the target text readership. The ideological considerations in the translation of Het Achterhuis in Afrikaans are mainly aimed at rendering an authentic and faithful translation. By means of the Afrikaans translation of the diary, Anne's original work becomes accessible to the Afrikaans speaking, South African, target text readership. Justice is done to the diary and to the voice of Anne Frank - the face of the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust.
Keywords : Authenticity; Anne Frank; diary; Die Agterhuis; domestication; ego-document; foreignization; Het Achterhuis; Holocaust; ideology; Lina Spies; style; translation; voice.