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Friday, 12 June 2020 15:18

Beyond the translator’s invisibility: Critical reflections and new perspectives

Volume Editors

Peter J. Freeth, University of Leeds, UK

Rafael O. Treviño, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, USA

Correspondence: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

In The Translator’s Invisibility (1995), Lawrence Venuti argued literary translations are deemed most acceptable by Anglophone readers and critics when they appear to be transparent, original texts with an invisible translator. Focusing on the ethical implications of this illusion of transparency, Venuti calls for translators to become more visible in their work by adopting “foreignizing methods” that minimize the “ethnocentric violence of translation” and resist the hegemonic linguistic and cultural position of English (1995:20). The limitations of Venuti’s selectively Anglophone and literary focus, as well as the challenges that stem from his distilling of complex theoretical concepts into binary oppositions, have been criticized by several scholars (Pym 1996, Delabastita 2010). Nonetheless, the concept of the translator’s invisibility and its ethical implications have seen widespread migration across the discipline, proving fruitful for research into translator and interpreter (in)visibility in textual, paratextual and extratextual spaces (Koskinen 2000). For instance, research on the visibility of translators in non-Anglophone contexts (Corbett 1999, Bilodeau 2013) and in other historical periods (Coldiron 2012, 2018) has expanded on Venuti’s original work and demonstrated the relevance of translator (in)visibility across a variety of cultural and historical contexts. 

However, as we turn to sociologically informed and multimodal research contexts, and the scope of translation and interpreting studies as a discipline continues to broaden, the theoretical concept of translator (in)visibility has been increasingly applied in contexts far removed from Venuti’s original focus on literary translation. For example, Littau (1997) and Hassen (2012) highlight the relevance of the translator’s (in)visibility in digital contexts, while others have applied visibility to other translational practices, such as Bielsa and Bassnett (2008) focus on political and news translation and the visibility of translators within such organizations, and Baker’s (2010) and Ellcessor’s (2015) interpreting-based perspectives. As such, the issue of visibility has stretched beyond specific literary texts and individual translators, to the overall visibility of translation and interpreting within a variety of contexts, thereby creating new challenges for researching the notion of visibility within these spaces and requiring alternative approaches.  

This volume therefore seeks to critically reflect upon current theoretical understandings of visibility across translation and interpreting studies, as well as to highlight potential new directions and approaches for visibility focused research. Doing so will provide new insights into how we can continue to investigate the visibility of translation and interpreting outside the realms of Venuti’s original theoretical approach, such as in digital, multimodal or sociological research contexts. To achieve this, the volume understands translation and interpreting studies in the broadest sense by incorporating intralingual and intersemiotic translational practices, such as subtitling, sign-language interpreting, rewriting and adaptation, alongside a traditional understanding of translation and the translator’s (in)visibility. 

 

The editors welcome contributions of 6,000–8,000 words focusing on, but not limited to, the following issues:

 

  • the adoption and spread of translator (in)visibility as a theoretical concept from literary translation studies to other subfields within translation and interpreting studies; 
  • critical reflections on current theoretical understandings of (in)visibility within translation and interpreting studies; 
  • the (in)visibility of translators and translation outside of Anglophone contexts and the impact of this on existing theoretical approaches; 
  • the (in)visibility of translators and translation outside of literary contexts, for example audio-visual translation, spoken and sign-language interpreting, adaptation, and rewriting; 
  • the impact of digital media and texts on the (in)visibility of translators and translation; and 
  • the (in)visibility of translators and translation in relation to other textual producers and practices, such as authors and editors.

 

Deadline for submissions: 15 September

For more information, click here

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