Feminist literary criticism has extensively argued that meaning perception is significantly affected by the gender of both authors and audience. Gender was further analysed in relation to translation from 1990s onwards as translation was regarded as an ideological activity whose practice could reveal some interesting insights into gender differences. In the last few years, the academic world has witnessed a proliferation of literature devoted to the intersection between gender and translation. Chamberlain (1998:96) acknowledges that ‘the issues relating to gender in the practice of translation are myriad, varying widely according to the type of text being translated, the language involved, cultural practices and countless other factors’. Simon (2006) explored gender issues in translation to show how women translators have played the role of cultural mediators for centuries; Von Flotow (1997) investigated feminist translation practices and suggested that more studies needed to be carried out to fill the gap of interfacing of gender, translation and ideology. Leonardi (2007) attempted to fill this gap by analysing ideology-driven shifts in translation as a result of differences between authors’ and translators’ gender in order to determine whether men and women translate differently. In line with Leonardi’s analytic framework based on a critical contrastive text linguistic approach, this work attempts to compare the strategies used by a British female translator (Avril Bardoni 1995) and an American male translator (John Cullen 1995) in their translation of Susanna Tamaro’s (1994) novel Va’ dove ti porta il cuore. This novel is about a grandmother who is about to die and thus she decides to write some letters to her granddaughter in the form of a diary, reliving her life and giving the younger woman invaluable advice about being true to her own heart at all times. This diary is a sort of confession to let her granddaughter know that her mother, who died in a car crash when she was only five, was conceived out of an affair with a married man she had when she was younger. In a domino effect across three generations of women, the grandmother deals with a series of feminist and non-feminist events aimed at portraying gender differences across generations and encourages further reflections upon these generational conflicts caused by hereditary defects transmitted through the female line. Is translation a gendered activity? The following contrastive analysis attempts to shed light on this question.
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