The Dark Side of Translation
We tend to consider translation as something good, virtuous and bright, but it can also function as an instrument of concealment, silencing and misdirection—as something that darkens and obscures. Propaganda, misinformation, narratives of trauma and imagery of the enemy—to mention just a few of the negative phenomena that shape our lives—show patterns of communication in which translation either functions as a weapon or constitutes a space of conflict. But what does this dark side of translation look like? How does it work?
Ground-breaking in its theoretical conception and pioneering in its thematic approach, this book unites international scholars from a range of disciplines including philosophy, translation studies, literary theory, ecocriticism, game studies, history and political science. With examples that illustrate complex theoretical and philosophical issues, this book also has a major focus on the translational dimension of ecology and climate change.
Transdisciplinary and topical, this book is key reading for researchers, scholars and advanced students of translation studies, literature and related areas.
Table of Contents
The dark side: an introduction
Part I: (Post-)colonial translations and hegemonic practices
1. Beyond a taste for the dark side: the apparatus of area and the modern regime of translation under Pax Americana
2. The Language of the hegemon: migration and the violence of translation
Part II: The Holocaust and the translator’s ambiguity
3. Primo Levi’s grey zone and the ambiguity of translation in Nazi concentration camps
4. Translating the Uncanny, Uncanny Translation
Part III: The translation of climate change discourses and the ecology of knowledge
5. Shady dealings: translation, climate and knowledge
6. Climate change and the dark side of translating science into popular culture
Alexa Weik von Mossner
7. Darkness, obscurity, opacity: ecology in translation
Part IV: Translation as zombification
8. Zombie history: the undead in translation
9. ‘MmmRRRrr UrrRrRRrr!!’: translating political anxieties into zombie language in digital games
Federico Italiano is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre History, part of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna; University Lecturer in Comparative Literature at LMU Munich and at the University of Innsbruck; and Visiting Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Graz. His recent publications include Translation and Geography (2016) and an anthology of young European poetry, Grand Tour (with Jan Wagner, 2019). An Italian poet and translator, Federico Italiano has published five poetry collections.
Exploring the dark side of translation turns out to be remarkably illuminating. The voyage into the negative confronts head-on a cluster of ideas that have remained vague and underdeveloped until now. Reflection on translation will be all the richer after this thoughtful and incisive volume.
Sherry Simon, Concordia University, Canada
This provocative collection of essays challenges easy assumptions about translation. The multi-disciplinary authors investigate in different ways what lies below the surface of translations, showing how translators excavate and bring to light aspects of texts that are both verbal and non-verbal. This is an exciting book.
Susan Bassnett, University of Warwick, UK