Nieznośny ciężar przekazu czyli o przekładzie źródeł mówionych w badaniach oral history
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MESSAGE OR ON THE TRANSLATION OF ORAL SOURCES IN ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH
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This text has come to life from the belief that there is a need of reflection on the issue of translation of oral history accounts as a part of researcher’s technique. In spite of the importance of the quality of narrative sources translations, this subject is often disregarded by researchers dealing with oral history not only in Poland but also abroad. So far only the British oral history researchers have been interested in this subject. Therefore in my own observations I focused on the questions of genre classification of oral history narrations, existence of cultural community between the interviewee and the researcher, including the question of whether the researcher knows the language of the researched group or people, I also considered social and cultural background in translations of biographic narrations. I find these matters crucial for proper understanding and translation of biographic narrations content to the reader’s language. Issues raised by me are illustrated with examples of translations prepared for my recent research on national and religious repression in memory of the Poles in Kazakhstan. This choice was motivated by the intention to present my methodological remarks on the most challenging translation available. Most of the analyzed narrations were recorded in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish as well as their numerous dialect variations. Drawing researchers’ attention to language perspective of recorded and analyzed narrations makes one conscious that each time a narration is presented in an academic text, it has already been altered in many ways by the researcher. Therefore I present various methodological proposals, share my observations and indicate that it is necessary to continuously improve one’s research technique when translating and analyzing foreign oral sources.
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