Feminism and Translation: analysing the English and Dutch translations of Simone de Beauvoir’s Le deuxième sexe (‘The Second Sex’) .

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The question as to “how biological and social gender, and feminist thoughts are conveyed and translated to English and Dutch” is important in the context of feminism and the position women in society. In this regard, how translations of original texts “impact the experience of the reader” must be examined. This research analyses the English and Dutch translations of part of The Second Sex from Simone de Beauvoir, with respect to the representation of the feminist ideas and the position of women. Do American and Dutch readers obtain the same information and message as the original French readers? A sample of 60 pages provided the data for the analysis of the translation strategies considering the context of the translators and their country. Both translations mostly used semantic strategies resulting in the introduction of seemingly small changes that can be grouped in three themes. The first relates to the change of interpretation of the notion ‘woman’ and the misrepresentation of ‘sex versus gender’; the second relates to the perceived sexism added to the translations; and the third is about how textual elements change the communication of information to the reader. In conclusion, these changes provide a different reading experience and adds a layer of the translator’s opinions, leading to a misrepresentation of the book.
Faculteit der Letteren