Saturday, July 4, 2015

Gender Pronoun Trouble and Other Life-or-Death Issues

I'm in the final stage of revising the second half of my 215-page book of Ishikawa Jun translations before sending to America's best copy editor, Anne McPeak; as a committed anti-phallocentrist, I am seriously considering changing all third-person male personal pronouns to female pronouns so as to buy myself brownie points with all the hip gender abolitionists/performatists, and thereby increase book sales。My question: Should I do it? (Example: "Amid the phenomena of everyday [quotidian] life, the writer and her neighbor are painted in the much the same hues; but whereas the neighbor can [simply] go about her business [by] calculating and weighing matters according to the [urgent] demands [imperatives/expediencies] of the day, the writer by contrast is fated/condemned to exist [also] on a separate plane that is once removed from [this/her] quotidian [everyday] reality [,] wherein she is forced to think via her pen in a pure and [purely] writerly mode. The tip of her pen is a [the] blade/scalpel that severs her from all [her] previous worldly ties/connections, hurling [and hurls] her whole being into the unknown [inchoate/nascent] world of the work.")

... But then again, the translator's duty is fidelity to the original, not to pander to contemporary trends/public tastes/political correctness;I shall therefore go with "he," at the risk of being accused (once again) of phallocentrism...

... And as for the brackets... not to worry... they are only temporary, and will fall away eventually;they're only still there because I am such a wishy-washy/indecisive man who hates to choose between several (all good) possibilities;I become very attached to my selected words, and hate to send any of them away. ... For example:I've been deliberating for the past three months about whether to go with "two provisional definitions" or "two tentative definitions," or "human feelings" or "human sentiments/emotions" for 人情, or "soft literature" or "erotic literature" for 軟文学;I cannot decide for the life of me;with the brackets, I can have my copyeditor decide for me, and am thereby relieved of the responsibility of having to make the terrible choice--a choice that is analogous to having to decide which woman to marry (in a society where polygamy is illegal), or which child to throw into the river when there is a lack of food, etc。

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