Brücken schlagen: Queering durch Multilingualität, Ambiguität und Widersprüche
Über die Übersetzung von Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Chaka Kollektiv (Claudia Frikh-Khar, Nina Höchtl, Verena Melgarejo Weinandt)



In its construction and exploration of border identities expressed through several tongues Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987) by Gloria Anzaldúa is a ground-breaking text. Anzaldúa’s particular use of multilingualism poses a gripping challenge in terms of translation. 36 years after its publication, the German translation will finally make this text available to readers in German.


This article circulates the Translators’ Notes to Borderlands/La Frontera, entitled “Grenzen übersetzen, translatorisches Handeln, Brückensprachen schaffen” [Translating Borders, Translational Agency, Bridging Language”], of our collective translation by Chaka. The objective of this article is two-fold. Firstly, it shows the vitality of the Translators’ Notes as an enunciative device that takes responsibility for the construction of meaning and subjectivity in the translated text. In so doing, the Translators’ Notes expound some of the key processes and concepts involved in conducting our translation while explaining our strategies that seek to undermine homogenizing tendencies by drawing on central features of Anzaldúa’s texts, namely allowing multilingualism, ambiguity and contradictions. Secondly, the article will explore to what extent it is this feature, Anzaldúa’s use of multilingualism, that makes her text such an important contribution to queer theory much before the academic rise of queer studies.


Keywords: Anzaldúa, translation, mestizaje, queerness, German