"Translated People" and the Rece iving Culture: Filipino Caregivers in Israeli Literature

R. Weissbrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of "translated people" originated in Salman Rushdie's Imaginary homelands: "The word 'translation' comes, etymologically, from the Latin for 'bearing across'. Having been borne across the world, we are translated men" (Rushdie 1991: 16). The concept, applied to immigrants, labor migrants and others who maneuver between their native and acquired languages, norms and identities, became an object of debate concerning the scope and goals of Translation Studies (Trivedi 2007). The proposed paper acknowledges the contribution of this concept to the discipline. However, rather than focusing on the "translated people" themselves, I intend to deal with the response of the "target culture" as manifested in its literature. For this purpose, I shall use George Steiner's ideas about the translation process (Steiner 2000/1975). The stages of this process which will provide a framework for my discussion are the second (aggression towards the source), the third (invasion by the source), and the fourth (the restoration of balance). My case study consists of stories depicting Filipino caregivers in Israel. The stories to be discussed were written by two major Israeli writers: Savyon Liebrecht (Liebrecht 2000) and Dalia Ravikovitch (Ravikovitch 2005). Responding to the growing dependence of Israelis on foreign caregivers, the authors ponder upon the impact of these "servants of globalization" (Salazar Parreñas 2001) on individuals, families, and the "target culture" at large. The "translation process" comprises, in the vein of Steiner's words, the aggression that the "people under translation" face; the sense of threat that they raise; and the possibility of gaining some sort of balance in a situation which is by its nature one of inequality.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)54-66
JournalJournal of English Studies & Comparative Literature
StatePublished - 2017


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