EVENT Nov 04
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Bad Translation: Misunderstanding, Mistake, Misplacement (SAMLA 2021 Conference)

Atlanta, GA
Organization: SAMLA
Event: SAMLA 2021 Conference
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, World Literatures, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2021-11-04 to 2021-11-06 Abstract Due: 2021-06-30

Translating has long been understood as the art of compromise. Over the centuries, the theoretical debate – from Saint Jerome to Leonardo Bruni, from John Dryden to Friedrich Schleiermacher and beyond – has had to grapple with the intrinsic paradox that any idea of “correct translation” entails betrayal of the original. In later years, the neighboring notions of untranslatability and translation loss have emerged as the ultimate cruxes in the practice, and have led to a non-negotiable understanding that brings together authors, editors, readers, and translators. What happens, however, when something is not simply lost or impossible to render during the translation process, but is rather the object of (intentional or unintentional) mistake? What can come out of a miscalculation on the translator’s part? What becomes of a text when it ends up in the “wrong” hands, or when ambiguity is exploited as a grey area for the translator to impose meaning? What is the status of the translator in this perspective, especially after Lawrence Venuti’s calls for its “visibility”? Rather than simply passing judgment on those instances in which words, style, or meaning are misplaced, this panel seeks to investigate the potentially momentous outcomes of missing the mark – or aiming for a different one – when transferring texts between cultural and/or semiotic systems. Presentation proposals are welcome for any chronological period, world culture, and medium. Please send a max. 250-word abstract and CV to Dr. Fabio Battista (The University of Alabama) at fbattista@ua.edu by June 30th, 2021.


Fabio Battista