‘Inhabiting' the Translator's Habitus – Antjie Krog as Translator

  • F Vosloo


Drawing on the Bourdieusian concept of habitus and its applicability in the field of translation, this article discusses Antjie Krog's profile in the practice of translation in South Africa. Bourdieu's conceptualisation of the relationship between the initiating activities of translators and the structures which constrain and enable them has proved useful for addressing the reproductive or transformative potential of acts of translation within particular socio-historical contexts. The impact of the translator (ie. Krog) and the complex of networks in which she operates – the production and reproduction of textual and discursive practices in (the) literary system(s) in particular – form the basis of this study. Within the frameworks of Bourdieu's cultural field theory and polysystem theory (considering the differences between, in my view, semi-compatible frameworks), my contention is that Krog's profile as translator is informed by her position as canonised poet and renowned writer in South Africa and internationally. To what extent her habitus as translator differs from or corresponds with her habitus as writer is therefore addressed, in addition to the position her translations as cultural products in a cultural repertoire hold within the Afrikaans and English literary systems (or fields) in South Africa respectively.

Current Writing Vol. 19 (2) 2007: pp. 72-93

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eISSN: 2159-9130
print ISSN: 1013-929X