Translating birth stories as counter-narratives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article studies childbirth narratives and their translation from the perspectives of narrative theory, feminist studies, and translation studies. In line with the arguments that personal narratives can undermine public ones and subjective experience can be a legitimate source of knowledge challenging institutions and authorities, birth stories are presented here as ‘counter-narratives,’ telling alternative stories from a subordinate position in the knowledge hierarchy. These stories are noteworthy examples of subjective, experiential, visceral, and feminist knowledge passed on from one person to the next, one generation to the next, and, in the case of translation, from one language and culture to another. Focusing on a key work compiled and written by an American midwife, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and its Turkish translation, which include 44 birth stories, the article compares and contrasts maternal health systems in the U.S. and Turkey, societal expectations, and the role of birth stories in both cultures. It locates these personal/public narratives in relation to the greater meta-narratives circulating in these cultures and discusses how translations reflect these meta-narratives while aiming to reshape them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-63
JournalMutatis Mutandis: Latin American Translation Journal
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • translation
  • birth stories
  • feminist perspectives on childbirth
  • narrative theory
  • maternal and neonatal health

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