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Translation, Resistance, Activism

Translation, Resistance, Activism

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Translation, Resistance, Activism
    Book Description:

    More than merely linguistic transposition, translation is a vector of power, resistance, rebellion, and even revolution. Exploring these facets of the ideology of translation, the contributors to this volume focus on the agency of translators and their activism. Spanning two centuries and reaching across the globe, the essays examine the varied activist strategies of key translators and translation movements. From silence to radical manipulation of texts, translation strategies are instrumental in significant historical interventions and cultural change. Translation plays a pivotal role in ideological dialogue and struggle, including resistance to oppression and cultural straitjackets of all types, from sexual puritanism to military dictatorships. Situated in their own space, time, history, and political contexts, translators promote ideological agendas by creating new cultural narratives, pragmatically adjusting tactics so as to maximize the social and political impact. The essays in this volume explore ways to read translations as records of cultural contestation and ideological struggle; as means of fighting censorship, physical coercion, cultural repression, and political dominance; and as texts that foster a wide variety of goals from cultural nationalism to armed confrontation. Translations are set in relief as central cultural documents rather than derivative, peripheral, or marginalized productions. They are seen as forms of ethical, political, and ideological activity rather than as mere communicative transactions or creative literary exercises. The contributors demonstrate that engaged and activist translations are performative acts within broader political and ideological contexts. The essays detail the initiative, resourcefulness, and courage of individual translators, whose willingness to put themselves on the line for social change can sometimes move the world. In addition to Maria Tymoczko, contributors include Pua‘ala‘okalani D. Aiu, Brian James Baer, Mona Baker, Paul F. Bandia, Georges L. Bastin, Nitsa BenAri, Ángela Campo, Antonia CarcelenEstrada, Álvaro Echeverri, Denise Merkle, John Milton, and Else R.P. Vieira.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-051-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Maria Tymoczko

    Without the work of Lawrence Venuti this book would never have been written. Venuti’s writing on translation as a mode of resistance and his calls for action addressed to translators were central in motivating discourses about translation, ethics, ideology, and agency in translation studies. The result has been a productive conversation about these important topics, as a result of which Venuti’s ideas have been interrogated, critiqued, and also enacted. This book rests on the foundation that Venuti built, but it attempts to go further: to go beyond resistance and delineate the current state of thinking about translation and activism. Although...

  4. Translation, Resistance, Activism: An Overview
    (pp. 1-22)

    The essays in this volume examine key translations and translation movements that have been instrumental in changing societies in many parts of the world during the course of the last two centuries. These texts and movements have participated in ideological and political dialogue and struggle in their own times and places. In “Translation and the Emancipation of Hispanic America,” Georges L. Bastin, Álvaro Echeverri, and Ángela Campo outline the centrality of translation in the revolutionary movement that led to the liberation of the colonies of Spain in Hispanic America. Two studies describe the effects of more recent cases of colonialism,...

  5. Translation and Activism: Emerging Patterns of Narrative Community
    (pp. 23-41)

    This article begins the exploration of some of the ways in which translation and interpreting may be embedded in a variety of projects that are set up outside the mainstream institutions of society, with agendas that explicitly challenge the dominant narratives of the time. More specifically, the essay outlines a narrative framework within which the work of communities of translators and interpreters who are actively involved in social or political agendas may be explained and critiqued. As I argue, narrative provides a basis for shared language and values, thus enabling the mobilization of numerous individuals with very different backgrounds and...

  6. Translation and the Emancipation of Hispanic America
    (pp. 42-64)

    Although it is true that history recalls and recounts events and facts, these accounts are never fully devoid of underlying ideologies and, hence, subjectivities.¹ The Venezuelan historian and writer Arturo Uslar Pietri makes the following observation:

    Where can we find the history of Latin America among all those partial and partialized views? This is a task that still needs to be done. The historiography of Latin America is like a set of deforming mirrors. Depending on where you stand, the reflection changes, giving one the impression of looking at a different person each time. (1991:114).²

    These realizations are of utmost...

  7. Covert and Overt Ideologies in the Translation of the Bible into Huao Terero
    (pp. 65-88)

    Despite being a broadly documented sociolinguistic phenomenon of twentieth-century evangelization, the immersion into Western culture of the Huaorani (an indigenous people in the Ecuadorian Amazon whose language is Huao Terero) has resulted in research focused mainly on the socio-anthropological issues that the communities have faced since contact, leaving a gap in understanding the linguistic phenomena per se. This is surprising since the condition of the Huaorani people today is principally the consequence of linguistic colonization by the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), a process that started in the 1950s and officially ended in the late 1980s. The work of these...

  8. Ne‘e Papa I Ke Ō Mau: Language as an Indicator of Hawaiian Resistance and Power
    (pp. 89-107)

    “Ne‘e papa i ke ō mau” is the theme of the annual ‘Aha Pūnana Leo fundraiser dinner. The ‘Aha Pūnana Leo is the organization that started the Hawaiian language immersion schools movement in the late 1970s. “Ne‘e papa i ke ō mau” means to move forward as one, which suggests that the donors and Hawaiian speakers in the room are moving forward as one to revive the Hawaiian language. This is true, but the image that “ne‘e papa” conveys, and that it is meant to convey, is that of lava moving inexorably to the sea or of a phalanx of...

  9. Secret Literary Societies in Late Victorian England
    (pp. 108-128)

    During the second half of Queen Victoria’s reign, social fragmentation was being generated by antagonistic social and political forces, creating what Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe have referred to as a “fissure” of ideological constructs in need of being “filled up” (1985:7). Not surprisingly this was also a period of intense translation activity, one response to the sociopolitical context. At least at the outset, the 1880s were a period of optimism; writers and thinkers believed that the time was ripe for greater scientific curiosity and literary openness to heretofore taboo subjects after more than a century of predominant puritan values,...

  10. Reclaiming the Erotic: Hebrew Translations from 1930 to 1980
    (pp. 129-148)

    In January 2004 a new publishing house called Katom (Orange) was launched in Tel Aviv, announcing the publication of a new series of pornographic novels, all written by women. The news was acclaimed in the electronic media with exclamations such as: “Well done,” “High time,” “Pornography and in Hebrew!” As though finally retrieving what had been for men only, young women reacted enthusiastically to the exclusive female-writers aspect; only one female reader, obviously unaware of the historic prominence of male writers in the genre, protested: “What about men-writers!”¹ Somewhat earlier, in February 2003, a high-court decision overruled the 2002 prohibition...

  11. Literary Translation and the Construction of a Soviet Intelligentsia
    (pp. 149-167)

    In the preface to his monumental two-volume collection of poetry in translation published in 1968,Mastera russkogo stikhotvornogo perevoda(Masters of Russian Verse Translation), Efim Gregorievich Etkind made the following claim: “Deprived of the possibility of expressing themselves to the full in original writing, Russian poets—especially between the nineteenth and twentieth Party Congresses, used the language of Goethe, Shakespeare, Orbeliani, or Hugo to talk to the reader” (Etkind 1978:32).¹ This rather innocuous statement set off a political firestorm in the reactionary 1970s, and Etkind, a professor of French literature at the Herzen Pedagogical Institute, was subjected to a humiliating...

  12. Literary Heteroglossia and Translation: Translating Resistance in Contemporary African Francophone Writing
    (pp. 168-189)

    In postcolonial translation studies most analyses of modes of resistance have dealt mainly with the ways that postcolonial subjects subvert the colonial language either to assert identity or to construct a counterhegemonic discourse against discourses of colonialism (see Venuti 1992, 1995, 1998; Rafael 1993; Mehrez 1992; Bassnett and Trivedi 1999; Simon and St-Pierre 2000). With respect to the African context, Chantal Zabus (1991) has discussed the concept of relexification as a resistance strategy of indigenizing Europe an languages, and Moradewun Adejunmobi (1998) has distinguished between compositional translations, authorized translations, and complex translations to reveal the power relations at work in...

  13. The Resistant Political Translations of Monteiro Lobato
    (pp. 190-210)

    In this article I examine the translations and adaptations of José Bento Monteiro Lobato (1882–1948), a prolific writer of fiction, children’s books, and treatises, most of which focus on bringing a more forward-looking mentality to Brazil. As a publisher initially with Monteiro Lobato e Cia. and then with Companhia Editora Nacional, Monteiro Lobato was also a key figure in the development of the Brazilian publishing industry. He was the first publisher in Brazil who attempted to develop a mass market for books and to turn the book industry into a consumer industry. Until Monteiro Lobato most publishing was in...

  14. Growing Agency: The Labors of Political Translation
    (pp. 211-226)

    “What if Bernardo is born in prison? And what if he is snatched from me at childbirth like all thosedesaparecidosin Argentina? The world knows about all those innocent babies who were taken away from their mothers. Who will feed him? Who will give him affection? Who will bring him up? Who will see to his future? What will his future be like?” These thoughts haunted me as the due date of the birth of my first child and the deadline to submit a political translation were both fast approaching.

    It all started when I was in the fifth...

  15. The Space and Time of Activist Translation
    (pp. 227-254)

    Related to calls for action that have been sounded in translation studies, the essays in this volume document some of the many forms that activist translation has taken historically and that it can take at present. The ethical and ideological import of the studies is central, demonstrating that translators have been and can be agents of significant social change. The essays also show that discourses about activism in translation have evolved considerably since the topic was first raised in translation studies.

    The specificity of activist translation strategies, the wide range of objectives of resistance in translation, and the many motivations...

  16. Works Cited
    (pp. 255-278)
  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 279-282)
  18. Index
    (pp. 283-299)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 300-300)