Translated People, Translated Texts examines contemporary migration narratives by four African writers who live in the diaspora and write in English: Leila Aboulela and Jamal Mahjoub from the Sudan, now living in Scotland and Spain respectively, and Abdulrazak Gurnah and Moyez G. Vassanji from Tanzania, now residing in the UK and Canada.
Focusing on how language operates in relation to both culture and identity, Steiner foregrounds the complexities of migration as cultural translation. Cultural translation is a concept which locates itself in postcolonial literary theory as well as translation studies. The manipulation of English in such a way as to signify translated experience is crucial in this regard. The study focuses on a particular angle on cultural translation for each writer under discussion: translation of Islam and the strategic use of nostalgia in Leila Aboulela's texts; translation and the production of scholarly knowledge in Jamal Mahjoub's novels; translation and storytelling in Abdulrazak Gurnah's fiction; and translation between the individual and old and new communities in Vassanji's work.
Translated People, Translated Texts makes a significant contribution to our understanding of migration as a common condition of the postcolonial world and offers a welcome insight into particular travellers and their unique translations.