Continuing the conversation among the words: Breyten Breytenbach’s translation strategy in Oorblyfsel/ Voice Over

Elzet Kirsten


Breyten Breytenbach’s bilingual collection of poems, Oorblyfsel/ Voice Over (2009), consisting of twelve poems published with the Afrikaans version on the left page and the corresponding English version on the right, shows some notable differences between the two versions of each poem. This article examines the unusual translation strategy of “re-tracing” (Odendaal 2011) that Breytenbach used to produce this collection of poems. Three concepts from literary theory, the ‘contact zone’ (Pratt 1987, 1992), the ‘in-between’ (Bhabha 1993) and the ‘remainder’ (Lecercle 1990), are discussed as tools which can be used to understand this strategy. In light of these three concepts, the two versions of the twelfth poem, simply named 12, are analysed in order to illustrate and understand the effect of Breytenbach’s strategy on the interpretation process that this collection of poems invites the bilingual reader to take part in.


translation; Breyten Breytenbach; re-tracing; stereoscopic reading; contact zone; in-between; remainder

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help