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Humanities 2018, 7(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030074

Heterolingualism and the Holocaust: Translating the Ineffable in Hélène Berr’s Journal

School of Modern Languages, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AT, UK
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 28 June 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Holocaust in Literature and Film)
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Abstract

By drawing attention to Hélène Berr’s use of foreign languages and literature as acts of translation, arguably one of the most prominent features of her Journal, this paper hopes to lay the foundation for a more sustained discussion of what translation means for victims of Nazi persecution, as well as of what translation does to their voices and for the continued transmission of their memories. The first section of this paper considers how Hélène Berr uses translation as a communicative aid to expression and argues that foreign languages, literary forms of expression, and also literature itself form part of a broader network of substitute vocabularies that function to help Berr to narrate, or even to translate, the ineffable. After considering the important role that heterolingualism and these substitute vocabularies play in Berr’s narrative, the paper raises some of the distinct challenges that linguistic plurality poses to translators of narratives of Nazi persecution. By drawing on, and comparing, examples from a textual analysis of the (2008) English version of Berr’s Journal, translated by David Bellos, and from the (2009) German edition, translated by Elisabeth Edl, and crucially through assessments of citations from the translators themselves, this paper highlights the significant role that translators, and the practice of translation, play in shaping memories of Nazi persecution. View Full-Text
Keywords: heterolingualism; Holocaust; translation; translating; Nazi persecution; Holocaust diaries; multilingual text heterolingualism; Holocaust; translation; translating; Nazi persecution; Holocaust diaries; multilingual text
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Munyard, S.F. Heterolingualism and the Holocaust: Translating the Ineffable in Hélène Berr’s Journal. Humanities 2018, 7, 74.

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