Translation and the Interplay between Society, Ideology and Power

This month we published Translation and Global Spaces of Power edited by Stefan Baumgarten and Jordi Cornellà-Detrell. In this post the editors tell us what to expect from the book.

Translation is a key process in the circulation of values and ideas across languages and cultures. Translation is a key site of cultural production and contestation, it is a space where values and ideas are constantly challenged and manipulated, adopted or discarded. It is, therefore, a privileged platform from which to examine the interplay between society, ideology and power.

The contributions in Translation and Global Spaces of Power show that the crosscultural struggle over values and ideas is reflected in sectors as diverse as political journalism, elite sports, marketing or the film industry. The heavy reliance on translated texts in a huge variety of political, cultural and economic domains further highlights the need to investigate the importance and effects of translation in relation to social and historical developments.

Our volume presents a number of contemporary and historical case studies which examine how translators and institutions participate in the creation and circulation of knowledge and, importantly, the ways in which they can promote social and economic sustainability.

The intertwined logic of capitalist and technological evolution has, especially in the past few decades, become an unquestioned value which threatens social cohesion and environmental sustainability. It is essential, therefore, to examine how translational practices can develop new ways of representing individuals, communities and cultures and how this crosscultural practice can be harnessed to promote sustainability and social justice.

Translators and the institutions they work for have often been induced, whether explicitly or not, to comply with hegemonic rules and values, particularly in areas where political and economic interests are at stake. They can, however, also produce resistant and subversive translations which challenge the status quo and contribute to social justice.

Translation and Global Spaces of Power demonstrates that translation boasts both enormous liberating and democratizing potential, but that it can also be used to exacerbate and justify inequalities.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Ideology, Ethics and Policy Development in Public Service Interpreting and Translation edited by Carmen Valero-Garcés and Rebecca Tipton.

 

Public Policy Development in Translation and Interpreting Studies

We recently published the first book in our new series Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World, entitled Ideology, Ethics and Policy Development in Public Service Interpreting and Translation edited by Carmen Valero-Garcés and Rebecca Tipton. In this post the editors introduce us to the main themes of the book.

As the 21st century advances, Public Service Interpreting and Translation (PSIT) services are increasingly positioned at the service of conflict resolution in different contexts, while at the same time being locked in their own struggle for professional recognition. This edited volume builds on our experiences as educators, researchers and practitioners as well as on the FITISPos Conference series in Public Service Interpreting and Translation held at the University of Alcalá, Madrid, and in particular the 2014 Conference which revisited topics related to ethics and ideology in situations of conflict.

The collection illuminates emerging challenges for PSIT in statutory and non-statutory services generated by violent conflict, population displacement and migration, inter alia, gender-based violence, human rights violations and mental health trauma. These challenges raise questions as to the nature of the ethical and ideological frameworks within which interpreters and translators operate, the extent to which they shape such frameworks, and the role of states and institutions in acknowledging and responding to human need and human rights, against a backdrop of shifting political, social and legal landscapes.

The chapters explore the evolving nature of ethics and ideology in a range of settings, and their implications for PSIT service organization, perception and delivery. They make a timely contribution to discussions on public policy development in translation and interpreting studies (see also González Núñez and Meylaerts (eds) 2017).

The volume promotes research involving inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional approaches in order to appeal to communities of public service interpreting and translation, communities of research and practice, intercultural communication services and key stakeholders in policy development. The intended readership is therefore broader than the constituency of PSIT alone and extends to anyone interested in multicultural societies.

The volume is divided into two parts; the first, titled ‘(Re-)defining Concepts and Policy Contexts’ provides historical and contemporary perspectives on ideology in the development of interpreting at the service of state bodies and institutions. The chapters explore ideologies of recruitment, positioning, discourses of professionalization, PSIT and the democratic process, and the ethics and politics of recognition. The chapters are underpinned by theoretical frameworks that highlight political science as an increasingly important inter-discipline.

Part 2 titled ‘Experiences From the Field’ brings together contributions on interpreting in settings such as courtrooms, correctional facilities and in the pre-trial phases of criminal investigation. It focuses on interpreter mediation with asylum seekers, refugees and trauma survivors, drawing on case studies and survey-based studies. Ethical and ideological perspectives are foregrounded through a spotlight on issues of access to justice in correctional facilities and rehabilitation for limited proficiency speakers. Interlingual communication is theorized in particular through rights-based discourses.  The chapters offer new insight into different types of legal events in the European context and bring a fresh perspective on the use and training of interpreters in Europe and the United States.

We hope that the volume opens up useful discussion between educators, interpreting practitioners and key public service and community stakeholders with a view to developing coherent policy approaches to PSIT across domains and settings.

References:

González Núñez Gabriel and Reine Meylaerts (eds) (2017) Translation and Public Policy: Interdisciplinary perspectives and case studies, London and New York: Routledge.

For more information about this book, please see our website