Sunday, September 6, 2009

Another fictional Natural Translator

The following is the latest entry in my Bibliography of Natural Translation.
BRONDOLO, Jean-Marc and Hélène Couturier (screenwriters). Aller simple. Film for television. France: 7e Apache Productions, 2006. 90 minutes. Actors: Rafaela Garretón (as Anita, the nine-year-old girl who interprets) et al.

“On her death bed [a man’s] mother asks him to bring her ashes to his father, who abandoned his family to go to Chile many years ago. He goes to Chile and runs into a woman and her daughter on the run from an abusive stepfamily. The girl is really the little angel in the story and she is so beautiful and smart. The man always speaks in French but the woman always answers in Spanish. Only the little girl speaks both in French and Spanish.” (‘amarct-2’ on Internet Movie Database)
This film was made for TV and apparently not distributed through other media. I chanced upon it one midnight on a French TV channel.

There isn’t much background information given about Anita, but there’s no suggestion she had been required to translate before or had been exposed to translation. So on that basis she can be classed as a Natural Translator. Of course, it’s fiction and it represents how the screenwriters imagined her; but to them it must have seemed plausible that the child would spontaneously translate, given the situation in which they placed her.

The translation is motivated by the urgent need to provide communication, but note that it’s not a case of Language Brokering, since there is no immigrant family involved.

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