Author and translator

Peter Flynn
University of Leuven, campus Antwerp

Table of contents

The debate on the invisibility of the translator first launched by Venuti (Venuti 1994) and also taken up by Simeoni in his seminal article on the translator’s habitus (Simeoni 1998) is usually understood in contrast to the relatively high visibility of authors of literary works or against the backdrop of literature and the numinous aura of the (national) creative writer. Though the importance of the role played by translators in introducing the work of foreign writers to readers in other cultures is in itself beyond dispute, their translations have been and continue to be a locus of broad institutional and public debate and even dispute both within and across cultures throughout history (see Literary translation and Literary Studies and Translation Studies). However, the debate on translator invisibility may have inadvertently obscured more complex relations between translators and authors, including former, more subtle or less visible delineations of authorship (see Davidson 2008, inter alia) and ‘translatorship’ (Toury 1995: 53) and, more particularly, how such delineations might be perceived or have been perceived in various cultures or throughout history. Next to this, we also have to consider how we should treat the authors of other works, like those working in philosophy or the social sciences for example, and their respective translators? In this respect, it would seem imperative to re-examine the role of genre as a determining factor in relationships between authors and translators (see genres, text-types and translation).

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