Translation and Culture
How we view the foreign, presented either in the interrelated forms of culture, language, or text, determines to a large degree the way in which we translate. This volume of essays examines the cultural politics of translation that have determined the production and dissemination of "the foreign" in domestic cultures as varied as contemporary North America, Europe, and Israel. The essays address from a variety of theoretical perspectives the question posed almost two hundred years ago by the German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher of whether the translator should foreignize the domestic or domesticate the foreign. Through the examination of the dialectic of cultural and linguistic change that is occasioned by translation, the authors ask how culture has influenced the politics and practice of translation in the past and how that relationship could change in the future. Given the transformational potential of translation, what is its role in the twenty-first century? What ethical considerations should now accompany the politics of translation? Central to the questions that surround the interaction of translation and culture is the notion of "foreign" and its interpretation and treatment at the hands of centuries of translators. Using the theoretical work of Schleiermacher as a starting point, the volume introduces the problem of the "foreign" and points to the need for what Derrida has called "an ethics of the word" in the process of translation. One of the foremost practitioners of translation theory, Lawrence Venuti, opens the discussion with an essay on the creation of value through the retranslation of the foreign. He examines the potential conflict of agency between institutions that sponsor and promote the retranslation of "classic" works and the integrity of the translator. The cultural-political ends of translation are further pursued in the essays by De Julio, von Flotow, and Koch. The question of translatability itself is addressed by Friedman, Giacoppe, and Durrani, and its concomitant problematic celebrated by Scott in her essay on the translation of myth. Both Merrill and Pfitzner focus on the agency of the translator per se, but with very different conclusions. Whereas Merrill lays bare the author/ity of the translator, Pfitzner applauds the joie de traduire of the multilingual society of the European Union. The essays in the volume all place themselves within the debate that has been refired by Jacques Derrida: namely, do we as translators lay bare our role as carriers of meaning, and then must we not also do this with both a debt to an "ethics of the word" and a consciousness of ourselves as other?
Contributors: Lawrence Venuti, Osman Durrani, Jill Scott, Arne Koch, Luise von Flotow, Sara Friedman, Monika Giacoppe, Christi Ann Merrill, Maryann De Julio, and Ina Pfitzner.
About the editor:
Katherine M. Faull is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Bucknell University.
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