Publication details [#63949]

Ortiz García, Javier. 2018. La ética del traductor. Visible o invisible; culpable o inocente; consciente o inconsciente. Babel 64 (3) : 405–413.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This article attempts to illuminate one of the most elusive aspects of the study of translation: the translator’s ethic. With the exception of Lawrence Venuti’s The Scandals of Translation (1998), few scholars have ventured in-depth studies of the subject. The proposed study is two-fold, with individual focuses on the theory and practice of translation, each analysed from three distinct perspectives: the translator’s visibility, culpability and conscience. This dual focus combined with its varying angles of analysis will lead to relatively well-defined conclusions. The theoretical element of this study is based upon scholarly opinion regarding existing constraints on the translator’s task (Lefevere; Bassnett; Lambert), and the direct influence of those constraints upon the literary translator’s process and final result. With the purpose of illustrating these theoretical suppositions, this essay analyses a recent translation (2013) of a political essay originally written in English and later published in translation in a Spanish newspaper. The detailed theoretical and practical analyses of this text will reveal the translator’s performance in the case of study as well as answer the following questions: Is the translator visible? If so, why did she choose to be? Is the translator culpable or innocent in the final results of the translation? Lastly, did the translator make the decisions in question consciously or unconsciously? The ultimate objective of this essay is to provide answers to these questions, thus not only clarifying the translator’s performance in this specific case but also demonstrating a translator’s ethic in more general terms. And, perhaps, it can also begin the elaboration of a much-needed ethical code for translators.