Language and belonging in the Polish translation of Eva Hoffman's Lost in Translation

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Translation Studies


This article discusses the translation of Eva Hoffman's immigrant memoir Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language (1989) into Hoffman's native Polish (Zagubione w przekładzie, trans. Michał Ronikier, 1995). Comparing the original to its Polish translation, the article argues that translations of immigrant life stories into their authors' first languages constitute a category deserving of critical engagement within literary and translation studies. Such versions enliven the complex presence of translation in the original texts – they support the theory that immigrant authors engage in translation when they textualize their lives in the language of the new country. More specifically, given the original memoir's heterolingualism and use of translation, the article argues that the Polish version reduces the memoir's linguistic plurality and, as a result, transforms what Hoffman describes as a linguistic journey from Polish to English into a story of shifting national allegiances.



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