Committed approaches and activism

Siobhan Brownlie

Table of contents

As part of a strong cultural studies turn in the Humanities (see Turns of Translation Studies), some theorists in Translation Studies in the 1990s distanced themselves from the popular Descriptive Translation Studies paradigm in order to highlight power differentials reflected in texts and in translation. Particular translation practices were advocated in order to contribute to redressing geo-political and social injustices. Venuti (1995), for example, showed how as a result of the domination of the United States and consequently of the English language, not only was the proportion of translated texts in the English-language book market minimal, but those books that were translated reinforced the dominant target culture values through fluent translation. He therefore advocated non-fluent translation practices, that is, strange formulations imitating source text expression or the use of marginal discourses in the target culture. Non-fluent practices were also advocated by feminist (see Gender in translation) and post-colonial translation theorists (e.g. Lotbinière-Harwood 1991; Niranjana 1992) in order to combat repressive and dominant attitudes, and to highlight alternative and complex discourses. Translation and translators were to be made visible.

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