I’m organizing a panel for ACLA this spring. Submit! I’m now recruiting panelists:
The metaphors for translation are varied and contradictory. Depending on the thinker, we might interpret translation as a range of acts; to translate is to travel, to build a bridge between cultures, to enslave oneself to an original text, to love, to serve, to betray, even perhaps to lie. Without a doubt, translation is a tricky business. It can be a force of liberation and of colonization. It offers the illusion of equivalence where none can be had. It suggests consensus where there is always room for dissent.
For this seminar, we invite writers, translators, and readers to consider the many ways translation reorients and revises culture. Our discussion anticipates a variety of genres, media, and geographies in exploration of a wide range of questions:
- What is the actual source for translation? Is it a language, text, culture, experience, or something else entirely?
- How does translation displace meaning? How does it enhance it?
- What happens to the local when we adapt it for a global audience?
- Can culture be adapted for external consumption? Should it?
- Might environmental revision to promote accessibility be considered a form of translation? In this context, what constitutes “language?”
- Can translation support global awareness of threatened languages, communities, or expressive modes? Might translation represent an additional threat?
- How does translation complicate our ideas about faithfulness and infidelity?
- How do the moral frameworks of faith and faithfulness direct revisionary choices?