What is Translation? Some Ideas from the “Translating Constrained Literature” Conference at JHU

This past weekend I attended a conference titled “Translating Constrained Literature/Traduire la littérature à contraintes” at Johns Hopkins University.

In sum, I have so much to read and learn, besides the problem of finding time to translate while pursuing a PhD. But putting aside names and theories, the conference spoke most to translation itself and its infinite permutations.

Here are a few of my impressions à la Emily Apter’s Twenty Theses on Translation:

Translation is constrained writing.

Translation transforms dreams.

Translation is whimsical.

Translation is appropriation.

Translation is a headache.

Translation never ends.

Translation is collective.

Translation is potentiality in action.

Translation speaks a silence.

Translation is reading.

Translation de-codes and re-codes.

Translation is investigation.

Translation is an exercise.

Translation is a game.

Translation is manipulation.

Translation is proliferation.

Translation is autobiographical.

Translation is estrangement.

Translation exhausts language.

Translation is connection.

Translation contaminates.

Translation animates.

Translation deforms.

Translation tries to understand the Other, which is no longer Other.

Translation is the foreign in one’s own language.

Translation is dissimulation.

Translation is a machine.

Translation is a meeting.

Translation is exploration.

Translation is anti-translation.

Translation is potential.

Translation is a function.

Translation is a constraint to the second power.

Translation is cannibalism.

Translation is transcreation.

One thought on “What is Translation? Some Ideas from the “Translating Constrained Literature” Conference at JHU

  1. What is translation says:

    What great insights you got about translation. In my opinion, to be a good translator, you need to have an extensive knowledge in both source and target languages. You must also be familiar with different types of genres. It is also important for you to be culturally aware about the differences between the source material and the culture and customs of the target languages. You should also be able to determine the different expressions, idioms and vocabulary to translate accurately.

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