Nation, empire, translation

Roberto Valdeón

Table of contents

Nation is a highly problematic concept. Geller has suggested two approaches to deal with it, the cultural and the voluntaristic (2006: 6–7), although he admits that neither is satisfactory and points out that nations can only be defined in the age of nationalism (2006: 54). Thus, the concept of the modern nation can be a recent European construct, but, on the other hand, the role of language as a key to define/create nations is not. Similarly Translation Studies might be a modern discipline but the role of translation in the construction of empires is not new (Robinson 1997: 9). The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Chinese, the Ottomans and many others promoted their nations through the use of translation, as their respective empires expanded through military conquest and, later, trade (see Scientific translation).

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