Imagining otherness: on translation, harm and border logic

Maitland, Sarah. 2019. Imagining otherness: on translation, harm and border logic. The Translator, 25(3), pp. 204-217. ISSN 1355-6509 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Using theoretical frameworks drawn from the fields of cultural anthropology and political philosophy, this article pursues connections between disparate discussions of representation and identity politics to consider the determining role that translation plays in constructing relations of power between the translating ‘self’ and the translated ‘other’. With reference to a theatre translation case study, it argues that the act of translation subordinates the position of the other to the biographical journey of the translator. By transforming the status of a living author from one of writing subject to representational object, translation is conceptualised as a form of so-called ‘status misrecognition’ that threatens to displace the author’s agency in translation, preventing them from participating as a peer in the passage from imagination to realisation in the target language. By emphasising greater author engagement in the translation process, this article calls for the first steps in a translational ‘politics of recognition’ by which the shape of translations would be informed by an increased valorisation of the status of authors as active participants in, rather than objects of, the imaginative acts that lead to translations.

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Theatre Translation; Politics of Recognition; Coevalness; Cultural Anthropology; Hermeneutics; [Spanish translation]

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


4 July 2019Published Online
22 March 2019Accepted
4 July 2017Submitted

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Date Deposited:

23 Jul 2018 13:58

Last Modified:

16 Feb 2022 11:35

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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