The Translated Work in the Global Context: Pedagogical Appropriation of Zlata’s Diary in the USA

  • Zoë Hutchinson


Christina Pribichovich-Zoric’s English translation of Zlata’s Filipovic’s diary, Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo (1994), is a work that describes eleven-year-old Bosnian-Croat Filipovic’s experience of the war in Bosnia from 1991-1993. Originally published in Croat by UNICEF (1993), Anglo-American readership primarily interprets the English translation as continuing the tradition of Anne Frank, and as such the text is pedagogically appropriated to exemplify the universality inherent in the literary translation. This paper is critical of the proposed “universal spirit” of a translated text (Venuti 177); reference to Rebecca Walkowitz’ idea of “writing for translation” (219), substantiates the claim that what has been interpreted as universal in Zlata’s Diary is rather the influence of western structures of language and culture. I examine two case studies concerning the American classroom and its employment of the text, comparing the ways in which Zlata’s Diary is domesticated in order to reconcile American cultural and linguistic difference, in contrast to a foreignizing approach to the text as a cultural document and historical source. This paper seeks to establish the extent to which a foreign translation, in its global circulation and context, takes on new meaning and loses its significance in the local context in which it was produced.