HomeTranslation: A political commitment?

Translation: A political commitment?

Traduire : un engagement politique ?

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Published on Thursday, June 21, 2018 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Translation, as it is determined by a socio-historical, political and subjective context, is not, has never been, and cannot be a neutral operation. It involves the choices, positioning and commitment of all the participants concerned. Therefore, we can ask ourselves: is the translator, given these multiple dimensions, constrained, or tempted, whether unconsciously or consciously, to instill a certain measure of ideology in the performance of her task? How do commitment, ideology and translation interact? Ethics, deontology, morals? And in what way does this interlacing of determinations constitute a political commitment of the act of translation, even more than that of the translator.

Announcement

Argument

Translation, as it is determined by a socio-historical, political and subjective context, is not, has never been, and cannot be a neutral operation. It involves the choices, positioning and commitment of all the participants concerned. Therefore, we can ask ourselves: is the translator, given these multiple dimensions, constrained, or tempted, whether unconsciously or consciously, to instill a certain measure of ideology in the performance of her task? How do commitment, ideology and translation interact? Ethics, deontology, morals? And in what way does this interlacing of determinations constitute a political commitment of the act of translation, even more than that of the translator.

Because its products are symptomatic of a given era and context, translation has shown, throughout history, its multiple implications in the political field: the translations of sacred and canonical works, as well as their reception, attest to this. It has been observed how, depending on the historical and political circumstances of the moment, the translation of a given work may have been be modified, helped or harmed by voluntary, fortuitous, or simply unconscious attempts (Hermans).

Moreover, in an extreme political context, translation—as an act promoting the circulation of ideas, displacement, and the foreignization of the subject by the language of the other—may pose a threat (Gambier). It has been frequently observed how, under certain dictatorial regimes, the original was driven out in favor of a version conforming to the ideology of the ruling power. The practice of translation was the subject of an immoderate control, even of a censorship against which one translator after another fought to transmit the lights coming from elsewhere.

In a time of globalization, and as the number of refugees and migrants around the world keeps increasing, translation issues are more problematic than ever. How can a foreigner be welcomed when his language is not hospitably acknowledged? In terms of support (legal, psychological, medical and social), how can we communicate? What kind of translators are needed? And what resources are given in this regard?

Finally, if certain languages dominate others (Casanova), and if we witness the appearance of a new language, which consists in an impoverished form of English as a lingua franca imposed in many a circumstance, translation “is from the outset part of the political—such is the expression of a differentiated plurality” (Cassin). As self-assertion, the act of translating is inherently a form of political commitment, a form of resistance, a militant act.

Building on these general ideas, this conference welcomes contributions favoring multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary approaches—historical, literary, psychoanalytical, philosophical, etc.— so as to propose a reflection on the political commitment of translators and translation alike.

Submission guidelines

Proposals should be sentto the following address: cetparisdiderot@gmail.com

before 30 June    2018.

Scientifc Committee

  • Houria Abdelouahed
  • Jean-Michel Benayoun
  • Yannick Bruneton
  • Natalie Kübler
  • Susan Pickford
  • Bruno Poncharal
  • Cécile Sakai 
  • Beatriz Santos

Organisation Committe

  • Antoine Cazé : antoine.caze@univ-paris-diderot.fr
  • Nicolas Froeliger : nf@eila.univ-paris-diderot.fr
  • Elise Pestre : elise.pestre@gmail.com
  • Florence Xiangyun Zhang : xiangyun.zhang@univ-paris-diderot.fr

Date(s)

  • Saturday, June 30, 2018

Keywords

  • traduction, engagement, politique, transdisciplinarité

Contact(s)

  • Florence Zhang Xiangyun
    courriel : xiangyun [dot] zhang [at] univ-paris-diderot [dot] fr
  • Elise Pestre
    courriel : elise [dot] pestre [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Florence Zhang
    courriel : xiangyun [dot] zhang [at] univ-paris-diderot [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Translation: A political commitment? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, June 21, 2018, https://calenda.org/445790

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