Tong King Lee

This article advances the notion of translatophilia, defined as the fetishisation of translation in hypercorrection of its perceived marginalisation. Using how Translation Studies scholars have engaged with the copyright regime in postpositivist fashion as a case in point, it argues that in the course of resisting structuralist notions of originality and authorship, Translation Studies has ironically come to fetishise its object of study as the privileged site of a new individuality and personality – romantic myths it initially set out to dispel. In light of the recent ‘outward turn’ in Translation Studies, the article identifies sources of anxiety in the field that have pushed it toward extreme theorisation. It proposes that before Translation Studies makes its outward turn, it is pertinent for it to first turn inward to combat its translatophiliac tendencies.

Publication history
Table of contents

Translation has become something of a fetish. The notion of fetish has been developed along several trajectories, namely anthropology, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. This article follows Cintron’s use of the concept in his book Democracy as Fetish. For Cintron (2020, 57), democracy has become fetishised in the sense that the terms that constitute “democratic rhetorics” (equality, freedom, liberty, self-determination, and so forth) bear an “innate prestige in the hierarchy of values and virtues.” Imbued with a universality, these terms “announce an inclusivity that has no boundaries and a totality that similarly has no bounds,” and the progressive left “continues to fetishise the inclusivity of universalist terms by occulting from their view mechanisms of exclusion. Hence they do not see below liberal democracy and the democratic rhetorics” (58).

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International convention

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Paris Act 1971, as amended 1979)

Cases and court rulings

Designer Guilds Ltd. v. Russell Williams (Textiles) Ltd
[2000] 1 WLR 2416Google Scholar
Infopaq International A/S v. Danske Dagblades Forening (C-5/08
[2009] ECDR 16 [CJEU Fourth Chamber]Google Scholar
Ladbroke (Football) Ltd v William Hill (Football) Ltd
[1964] 1 WLR 273Google Scholar
University of London Press v. University Tutorial Press
[1916] 2 Ch 601Google Scholar

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