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  • 7/29/2019 The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures


    The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures, June 13-14, 2013. Srinakharinwirot University,

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Navigating Lese Majeste: Translation, Resistance, Hermeneutics or The Triptych: (Un)concealing



    Cutter StreebyUniversity Redacted


    In this paper I formulate a tripartite structure for translating the Thai poetry of Zakariya

    Amatayainto English. The structure integrates the original poem, a literal translation and the final

    Englishtranslation. The new structure, or triptych, utilizes a uniquely hermeneutical approach

    and provides the translator with the freedom necessary to navigate the textual/cultural aspects

    ofAmatayas writing, namely his style (metaphor vs. metonymy, etc.) and his ability to resist

    thetextual/cultural confines of Article 112 ( Lese Majeste) of Thailands Constitution. I offer

    mytarget reader a complete, faithful enunciation of the original Thai piece into English by

    utilizingthe framework of the triptych. The final translation resists assimilating the source piece

    byexploiting the opposition between the two English variants (literal translation vs

    finaltranslation). This opposition offers a successful foreignization of the original piece

    andencourages intercultural transaction between source and target audience (and vice versa)

    whilesuccessfully interrogating the literary tropes utilized by Amataya. Further, I outline

    Amatayasapproach to and engagement with the role literature plays in contemporary resistance

    tocensorship in Thailand.


    poetry, Amataya, skopos, translation theory, intercultural exchange, Lese Majeste,Thai poetry,

    hermeneutics, foreignization

    Research Methods:

    Qualitative, participatory, interview, textual/structural analysis


    The new triptych structure allows translators to effectively navigate potentiallyuntenable

    situations encountered with the traditional, bilingual formatting (i.e. a poet beingsubject to Article

    112 versus a translator working outside the confines of Article 112). Thisstructure allows for the

    successful foreignization of lexicons/alphabets with no overlappingcharacter systems. By applying

    hermeneutics to translation, this new structure allows for a morecomplete enunciation of the

    original piece in the target language/culture.

  • 7/29/2019 The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures



    Unconcealment is opening or clearing, while truth in all its forms is an event that takes place

    within the clearing.Without the opening there would be no free space for the event of truth to

    take place.- Cf. Martin Heidegger, DasEnde der Philosophie und die Aufgabe des Denkens in Zur

    Sache des Denkens (Tbingen: Max Niemeyer 1976), p.77- VIA, Vladislav Suvk. The Essence ofTruth (aletheia) and the Western Tradition in the Thought of Heidegger and Patocka. In: Thinking

    Fundamentals, IWMJunior Visiting Fellows Conferences, Vol. 9: Vienna 2000, pg 12

    The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures, June 13-14, 2013. Srinakharinwirot University,

    Bangkok, Thailand

    IntroductionReading a translation as a translation means not just processing its meaning but

    reflecting on itsconditions-- formal features like the dialects and registers, styles and discourses in

    which it iswritten, but also seemingly external factors like the cultural situation in which it is read

    which*have+ a decisive influence on the translators choices. (Venuti, 1995, p. 276)Literary

    translation is a process where source information becomes target information (both theformal

    and the external factors); this information is firstly articulated by the sourcetext/culture and

    must achieve a complete enunciation (representation) to be successful in thetarget text/culture.

    Being able to experience translation as translation necessitates that our targetreader (English) be

    unsettled or destructured during the everyday process of reading in hisown language. The

    comfortable security of the reader must be stripped in order for the reader toremain aware that

    the information being processed is in fact from a different language/culture.This everydayness of

    experiencing translated poetry as English language poetry depends on theextent of assimilation of

    the source piece. As a translator, how can we resist this assimilation (inthe sense of submission) of

    source information by target language? Venutis prescription is toforeignize


    the translation. In the spirit of this idea, I have attempted to conceive a slightlydifferent approach

    to the translation of poetry, specifically in the structure of the translations publication which will

    encourage foreignization between source and target texts.In translating the poetry of Zakariya

    Amataya from Thai (where Article 112:

    Lese Majeste


    is an immediate concern to writers, academics and politicians) to English (where thisArticle is

    foreign, or at least not an immediate concern), I believe the only way to successfullyrepresent

    Amatayas poetry and its cultural situation is to revise the accepted view thattranslation

    presupposes a type of movement ( from source text/culture to target text/culture)- i.e.the

    traditional, bilingual publication method of source text faced by target text. Rather, a


  • 7/29/2019 The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures


    The idea of foreignizing versus domesticating translation was set down by Lawrence Venuti

    (Venuti, 1995). It isan idea based on the level of assimilation of a translated piece- i.e. does the

    translated version convey both themeaning and the foreign external features of the original

    piece. In the following section, I utilize a foreignizingtechnique when translating the poetry of Luis

    Felipe Fabre able to preserve the original Spanish music and conveythe English meaning.


    The Thai constitution includes the clause: The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered

    worship and shallnot be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or

    action. Article 112 states: Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-

    apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonmentof three to fifteen years.Streeby | 1

    'The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures, June 13-14, 2013. Srinakharinwirot University,

    Bangkok, Thailand

    successful English translation of Amatayas poetry must meld the original piece


    the target piece in such a way as to encourage cultural enquiry by the Western world. This alloy

    must havea transparent framework which clearly represents both the source text and my

    decisions astranslator/mediator when creating a functioning representation in English.In this

    paper, I will outline a new tripartite layout for the translation of poetry in whichthe original work is

    displayed with an integrated literal (cognate) representation in English- thisdual part source piece

    will be placed on the opposing page of the translated English piece.This new formulation willaccomplish two things: it will give my readers a clear sense of what isstated in the original (under

    Article 112), and it will make my decisions as translator (outsideArticle 112) completely apparent.

    The intrasemiotic opposition of the English texts (literal versustranslated) will serve to foreignize

    my English variant and to underscore the cultural divide between the source and target texts. With

    this structure I am able to offer my reader a way tosuccessfully engage with both the verbal

    aspects (literal translation) and the cultural aspects(final translation). For bilingual readers, the

    English translation will bring a new constellation of meaning to the original.This tripartite

    formulation as a


    is the translation; it is a mutual exchange whichincorporates individual reader response into the

    act of translation- there is no movement


    source language

  • 7/29/2019 The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures



    target language, instead there is now a literary triptych representing theexchanges (both formal

    and external) occurring within the text: original/cognate,cognate/translation,

    original/translation, and reader/translator. This hermeneutic structureempowers the target

    audience and allows them to judge my translation as a translation. Indisclosing the as-structure ofa thing, *e.g.+ the hammer as a hammer *or translation astranslation+, interpretation discloses its

    meaning. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2005)It is the framework


    of my translation, the transparent exchange between source and target thatinsures my version is

    a complete enunciation of the original piece. Intercultural exchange is Godin this triptych: source

    text versus target text, verbal representation versus cultural representation,author versus

    translator, the readers individual response to the literal versus my final decisionsas translator in

    the final. It is the opposition, the in-between-ness of these three pieces whichwill reveal the

    art(work), and allow my reader to locate truth in both the source and the target


    The theoretical framework for this tripartite formula is drawn from the Heideggers conceptions of

    Dasein(Heidegger, 1971 & 2008).Streeby | 2

    'The Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures, June 13-14, 2013. Srinakharinw