The translation of narrative fiction: Impostulating the narrative origo

Jan Louis Kruger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents an approach to the translation of narrative fiction that draws on the interpretive dimensions of some 'postclassical' variants of narratology. This approach is primarily built on two related concepts that are introduced here in an attempt to obviate the need for the identification of a range of textual agents, and that may enable the translator of narrative fiction to arrive at a more informed interpretation of the source text. These terms are 'narrative impostulation' and 'narrative origo' (the first an interpretive and presentational activity shared by author and reader as well as translator as reader/author, and the second a deictic and orientational position and vortex that represents the centre from which and into which the narrative originates). In introducing these terms, the article suggests an approach to the way in which a narrative text comes to (a second) life (in translation), and the way in which the reader gains access to the fictional world and also interprets and participates in the construction or presentation of that world, also in terms of focalisation. This approach to the translation of narrative fiction is then illustrated by means of examples from the South African novelist, A. B. Brink's self-translated/rewritten novel Imaginings of sand (IS)/Sandkastele (SK) to show how subtle shifts in focalisation have the potential to change the way in which the narrator and narrative as a whole are conceptualised.1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


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