Gabriela Rodas


Symbolic Ethnicity in Italian-Canadians: a Cross-Cultural Translation Process

The Cultural Turn has created shifts in theoretical and practical aspects of translation, for instance translators began to take into account cultural, social, religious and ideological components, recognizing that a translation unit is not simply a linguistic code. This has led to broader definitions of the translation process – there has been a move away from the dominant conceptualization of translation being strictly a textual practice.

This intersection of Cultural Studies and Translation Studies has continued to experience a growth in interest towards cultural phenomena due to the increased visibility of the migration occurring in our world. Increased migration signifies that many cities are becoming increasingly more multi-cultural and the world is becoming a global village, with a growing need to understand how individuals in this village interact with each other. Thus, translation becomes a crucial and every day process in our contemporary world – the negotiation between cultural heterogeneity calls for translation beyond textual means, which can occur often in the form of cultural phenomena such as ethnic representation or ethnic symbols.

By examining three ethnic symbols created and used by the Italian-Canadian magazine Panoram Italia, my research seeks to demonstrate that cultural phenomena can be examined through a translation studies lens, and that cultural phenomena, including symbolic ethnicity, is not only a form of ethnic representation but is also a process of cross-cultural translation. To demonstrate this, I draw on Christiane Nord’s translation-oriented text analysis theory and Maria Tymoczko’s cluster concept will be used to examine the translation process that is realized by Italian-Canadians, and I also draw on Multimodal Critical Discouse Analysis to examine how identity and meaning are linked to these ethnic symbols.


Gabriela Rodas is currently pursuing her Masters in Translation Studies at York University. She is a Spanish into English translator, a student member of the American Translators Association (ATA), holds a BA in Hispanic Studies, and a Spanish-English Translation Certificate from Glendon College, York University, Toronto, Canada. She has worked in the language services industry for several years as a project manager, managing large teams of translators, revisers, terminologists and graphic designers for multilingual translation requests. She has had several literary translations published in York University’s Spanish and Portuguese literary magazine Entre Voces and in the Hispanic-Canadian literary magazine The Apostles Review. In addition to her experience as a translator, Gabriela has also been on the organizing, scientific and publication committees of the 2013 Graduate Conference in Translation Studies at Glendon College, York University.