From "Sisters" to "Comadres": Translating and Transculturating Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters

Pilar Somacarrera


Since theNative Canadian playwright Tomson Highway imagines his plays in Cree beforetranslating them into English, his dramatic texts  are, in the words of  Gayatri Spivak, “a history of the languagein-and-as-translation. “ As he acknowledges, Highway’s English is permeatedwith the rhythm of the Cree language: “I am actually using English filteredthrough the mind, the tongue and the body of a person who is speaking inCree”  Highway’s text introduces Cree orOjibway words and phrases, providing English translations for them infootnotes. The other characteristic which makes Highway’s plays distinct istheir sexual content, as transmitted both in the spoken text and in the stagedirections. Highway explains in an article titled “Why Cree is the Sexiest ofAll Languages,” that talking about sex in English is a terrifying experience, whereasin Cree it is the funniest, most hysterical and most spectacular thing in theworld.” In addition, visceral and sexual language is an essential component ofthe play, This paper will explore the process of translation andtransculturation involved in the translation of Highway’s play The Rez Sisters, in the light of translationstudies theories and the notion of transculturation as coined by Fernándo Ortizand expanded by Norman Cheadle in his book CanadianCultural Exchanges.


Tomson Highway. Translation. Transculturation. Spanish

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ISSN: 2254-1179
Entidad editora: Universidad de Huelva. Servicio de Publicaciones
Licencia de usoCreative Commons 4.0