A blog about translation, language, literature, and other related topics. Updated every approximately every five days.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The Violence of Translation: Conquering and Colonizing a Text
To continue with the metaphor theme, I was intrigued by the book Translation and Empire by Douglas Robinson, which discusses postcolonial theories of translation. One chapter quotes from Jerome, Dryden, and other major figures from translation studies, and it is interesting to see their comparison of translators to conquerors or pillagers, who take what they want from a text and then make it over as they see fit in the target language. The text is thus rather violently colonized. In some instances, it seems that (male) translators view languages as female; it is, therefore, acceptable to “rape and pillage” a foreign tongue – to take what the translator thinks most important or useful – in order to protect the native language.
Originally from Chicago, I lived in southern Sweden for nearly 5.5 years, and moved to southern Wales in September 2006. I completed a Ph.D. translation studies in June 2009 at Swansea University, with a dissertation on the translation of children's literature.
Now I live in Norwich, England, where I am a lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and I also work as a translator, writer, and editor.
Contact me at bravenewwords (AT) gmail (DOT) com.