Translating Taste and Switching Tongues
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This chapter concentrates on food references in the books that Nabokov first wrote in English and then self-translated: Ada, Lolita, and his autobiography Speak, Memory. These self-translations were done completely by Nabokov, from English into Russian in the case of Lolita or Speak, Memory, but others were partial self-translations as they are cases of collaborative translation: thus, Nabokov closely followed, supervised and revised the French translation of Lolita and Ada. The strategies that Nabokov used in his novels in English to self-translate food references are strikingly similar to those he resorted to when he self-translated his texts into Russian or French. However, these self-translations offer complex situations, for instance when translating French food into French implies losing the heterogeneity of the text. One particularly interesting strategy can be observed in Nabokov’s self-translations of taste, as he sometimes resorts to sensory translation, thus making translating synesthetic.
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