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Translation, Resistance, Activism

edited by Maria Tymoczko

Publication Year: 2010

More than merely linguistic transposition, translation is a vector of power, resistance, rebellion, and even revolution. Exploring these facets of the ideology of translation, the contributors to this volume focus on the agency of translators and their activism. Spanning two centuries and reaching across the globe, the essays examine the varied activist strategies of key translators and translation movements. From silence to radical manipulation of texts, translation strategies are instrumental in significant historical interventions and cultural change. Translation plays a pivotal role in ideological dialogue and struggle, including resistance to oppression and cultural straitjackets of all types, from sexual puritanism to military dictatorships. Situated in their own space, time, history, and political contexts, translators promote ideological agendas by creating new cultural narratives, pragmatically adjusting tactics so as to maximize the social and political impact. The essays in this volume explore ways to read translations as records of cultural contestation and ideological struggle; as means of fighting censorship, physical coercion, cultural repression, and political dominance; and as texts that foster a wide variety of goals from cultural nationalism to armed confrontation. Translations are set in relief as central cultural documents rather than derivative, peripheral, or marginalized productions. They are seen as forms of ethical, political, and ideological activity rather than as mere communicative transactions or creative literary exercises. The contributors demonstrate that engaged and activist translations are performative acts within broader political and ideological contexts. The essays detail the initiative, resourcefulness, and courage of individual translators, whose willingness to put themselves on the line for social change can sometimes move the world. In addition to Maria Tymoczko, contributors include Pua‘ala‘okalani D. Aiu, Brian James Baer, Mona Baker, Paul F. Bandia, Georges L. Bastin, Nitsa Ben-Ari, Ángela Campo, Antonia Carcelen-Estrada, Álvaro Echeverri, Denise Merkle, John Milton, and Else R.P. Vieira.

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-ix

Without the work of Lawrence Venuti this book would never have been written. Venuti’s writing on translation as a mode of resistance and his calls for action addressed to translators were central in motivating discourses about translation, ethics, ideology, and agency in translation studies. The result has been a productive conversation about these important topics...

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Translation, Resistance, Activism: An Overview

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pp. 1-22

The essays in this volume examine key translations and translation movements that have been instrumental in changing societies in many parts of the world during the course of the last two centuries. These texts and movements have participated in ideological and political dialogue and struggle in their own times and places...

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Translation and Activism: Emerging Patterns of Narrative Community

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pp. 23-41

This article begins the exploration of some of the ways in which translation and interpreting may be embedded in a variety of projects that are set up outside the mainstream institutions of society, with agendas that explicitly challenge the dominant narratives of the time. More specifically, the essay outlines a narrative framework within which the work of ...

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Translation and the Emancipation of Hispanic America

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pp. 42-64

Although it is true that history recalls and recounts events and facts, these accounts are never fully devoid of underlying ideologies and, hence, subjectivities.1 The Venezuelan historian and writer Arturo Uslar Pietri makes the following observation...

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Covert and Overt Ideologies in the Translation of the Bible into Huao Terero

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pp. 65-88

Despite being a broadly documented sociolinguistic phenomenon of twentieth- century evangelization, the immersion into Western culture of the Huaorani (an indigenous people in the Ecuadorian Amazon whose language is Huao Terero) has resulted in research focused mainly on the socio-anthropological issues that the communities have faced since...

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Ne‘e Papa I Ke Ō Mau: Language as an Indicator of Hawaiian Resistance and Power

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pp. 89-107

“Ne‘e papa i ke ō mau” is the theme of the annual ‘Aha Pūnana Leo fundraiser dinner. The ‘Aha Pūnana Leo is the organization that started the Hawaiian language immersion schools movement in the late 1970s. “Ne‘e papa i ke ō mau” means to move forward as one, which suggests that the donors and Hawaiian speakers...

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Secret Literary Societies in Late Victorian England

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pp. 108-128

During the second half of Queen Victoria’s reign, social fragmentation was being generated by antagonistic social and political forces, creating what Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe have referred to as a “fissure” of ideological constructs in need of being “filled up” (1985:7). Not surprisingly this was also a period of intense translation activity...

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Reclaiming the Erotic: Hebrew Translations from 1930 to 1980

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pp. 129-148

In January 2004 a new publishing house called Katom (Orange) was launched in Tel Aviv, announcing the publication of a new series of pornographic novels, all written by women. The news was acclaimed in the electronic media with exclamations such as: “Well done,” “High time,” “Pornography and in Hebrew!” As though finally...

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Literary Translation and the Construction of a Soviet Intelligentsia

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pp. 149-167

In the preface to his monumental two- volume collection of poetry in translation published in 1968, Mastera russkogo stikhotvornogo perevoda (Masters of Russian Verse Translation), Efim Gregorievich Etkind made the following claim: “Deprived of the possibility of expressing themselves to the full in original writing, Russian poets...

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Literary Heteroglossia and Translation: Translating Resistance in Contemporary African Francophone Writing

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pp. 168-189

In postcolonial translation studies most analyses of modes of resistance have dealt mainly with the ways that postcolonial subjects subvert the colonial language either to assert identity or to construct a counterhegemonic discourse against discourses of colonialism...

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The Resistant Political Translations of Monteiro Lobato

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pp. 190-210

In this article I examine the translations and adaptations of José Bento Monteiro Lobato (1882– 1948), a prolific writer of fiction, children’s books, and treatises, most of which focus on bringing a more forwardlooking mentality to Brazil. As a publisher initially with Monteiro Lobato e Cia. and then with Companhia Editora Nacional...

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Growing Agency: The Labors of Political Translation

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pp. 211-226

“What if Bernardo is born in prison? And what if he is snatched from me at childbirth like all those desaparecidos in Argentina? The world knows about all those innocent babies who were taken away from their mothers. Who will feed him? Who will give him affection? Who will bring him up? Who will see...

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The Space and Time of Activist Translation

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pp. 227-254

Related to calls for action that have been sounded in translation studies, the essays in this volume document some of the many forms that activist translation has taken historically and that it can take at present. The ethical and ideological import of the studies is central, demonstrating that translators have been and can be agents of significant social change...

Works Cited

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pp. 255-278

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 279-281


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pp. 283-299

Back Cover

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p. 313-313

E-ISBN-13: 9781613760512
E-ISBN-10: 1613760515
Print-ISBN-13: 9781558498327
Print-ISBN-10: 155849832X

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Globalization -- Social aspects.
  • Intercultural communication.
  • Political culture.
  • Translating and interpreting.
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