Edited by Michela Baldo, Jonathan Evans and Ting Guo
[Translation and Interpreting Studies 16:2] 2021
► pp. 240–262
In this self-reflexive paper, co-written by scholars currently collaborating on the Polish translation of Judith Butler’s Bodies that Matter, we discuss the political and activist stakes of translating a canonical queer theory text over 25 years after its original publication, in the context of anti-lgbtq+ public discourse in today’s Poland. We argue that the collective character of our translation process turns it into an activist workshop that negotiates social norms and works on the invention and application of their alternatives. This activist practice results in a programmatically accessible translation, written in gender-inclusive and queer-sensitive language that follows the poststructuralist philosophical underpinnings of the 1993 source text and its gendered language. Discussing examples of Butler’s use of grammatical gender and her politicized style in our translation, the article contributes to understanding the queer activist practice of translation and, specifically, underwritten questions of translating queer theory in a contemporary Polish (linguistic) context.