Translation zone

Sherry Simon
Concordia University
Table of contents

“Translation zone” refers to an area of intense interaction across languages. The dimensions and nature of that area can vary considerably: it might cover a large geographical expanse such as multilingual empires like the Russian, Habsburg or Ottoman empires or multilingual nations like India; it can be applied to specific border transactions, like those of the US-Mexican border; and it can refer to the micro-spaces of multilingual cities (Related terms: translation space, translation area, border zone, borderlands). While the idea of the translation zone has also been used with broad heuristic and polemical intent to push for the extension of the borders of literary studies (The Translation Zone, Apter 2006), the term is used most productively to characterize spaces defined by a relentless to-and-fro of language, by an acute consciousness of translational relationships, and by the kinds of polymorphous translation practices characteristic of multilingual milieus.

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