“The Politics of Translations”

The concept that a translation suggest is that there is an original. To some translation is seen as duplication, which suggests a concept of original being of higher value and the duplicate of lesser value. However, regardless of how one might define translation, translation is making the text readable to one particular language.

Translation is communicating the textual content of one language to another and as it was stated, “each slightly different from the one that came before it: translations of translations of translations. Each text is unique, yet at the same time it is the translation of another text” The Politics of translation

Amidst the issues confronting the works of translation studies, the politics of translation must be seen as way of dealing with the problem. As Bassnett and Travedi is concern, the works on translation studies are confronted by the issues relating to the relationship between the text referred to as the original or the source, and the translation of that original.  The problem confronting the field of translation studies is the notion of duplication or of not being original, which grossly creates a discrediting concept on translation works. The politics of translation must enfold the growing importance of translation studies including the linguistic branch to be able to present shared intelligibility without sacrificing difference for the sake of a blind integration.

According to Bassnett and Travedi, the issue on the relationship between translation and the so-called original, “arose as a result of the invention of printing and the spread of literacy.”

This led to the emergence of the idea that an author is owner of his or her text. The concept of the politics of translation encompassed the issue of ownership of the text as this has been one of the important issues regarding the work of translations. Of course, the writers of the text must be its rightful owners. The translators are working to make the text readable to a particular language.

The politics here then, is that who gets what, when, and how. Thus, while the credit of the text exclusively goes to the writer, the translator gets his own credit in view of the translated work.

While politics speaks of conflict and disagreement, the concept of the politics of translation centers on dealing with the issues confronting the works of translation studies in order to find ways of having blind assimilation between the texts and the translator’s ideas. Both the text and the work of the translator then are important and original because we now speak of two different languages.

The writer of the text gets credit for his ideas, and the translator gets his own for making the ideas of the text flourish to a particular language.

Tymoczko illustrated this clearly in her discussion of translation as metaphor for colonial writing. She said, “In this sense post-colonial writing might be imaged as a form of translation in which venerable and holy relics are moved from one sanctified spot to another more central and more secure location, at which the cult is intended to be preserved, to take root and find new life” (p. 20).

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