Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association/Tufts University
Event: 55th Annual NeMLA Convention
The act of translation is often discussed in terms of possession: what is lost, what is revealed, who can claim ownership of a text, and to what extent. It is possible, however, that a more enlightening conversation around translation theory and practice could be had if we shifted our focus from questions of ownership to questions of surplus and scarcity. In an age of globalization where translation is often maligned as useless and mechanized, the field of translation studies must push itself towards inclusive discussions of its most human aspects. To what extent should the translator's work be visible? How do translators negotiate the complexities of excess and lack, "too-much-ness" and "not-enough-ness," when mediating a text? How can we examine the relationships among author, narrator, reader, and translator through a lens that manages to be both qualitative and quantitative? How can existing theories of translation be understood through this lens? Most importantly, could such a shift in our framing of the act of translation--a shift away from the limiting, capitalist notion of ownership--allow us to ask and answer new questions about the mediation of a text?