Introduction

Stefan Baumgarten and Jordi Cornellà-Detrell

Table of contents

Most of what we do in translation studies, and anywhere else in the Humanities and Social Sciences, is to analyse the manifold facets of power. It is a notion so all-encompassing that academics seem not to be daring to pursue an engaged analysis. Just like the notion of ‘translation,’ this concept would need to be ‘fenced in’ for it to maintain enough scope for our research endeavours. Several publications over the last 20 years or so feature the word ‘power’ in their titles (Fawcett 1995; Alvarez and Vidal 1996; Tymoczko and Gentzler 2002), and the word ‘ideology’ has been even more prominent in this regard (Calzada-Pérez 2003; Munday 2007; Munday and Cunico 2007), and all this in connection with calls for a ‘power turn’ (Tymoczko and Gentzler 2002) or indeed an ‘ideological turn’ in our field of enquiry (Leung 2006). Largely absent from most of the sociological literature on translation, however, is the question of how translation features in times of advanced capitalism and rapid technological evolution. In other words, how does the global domination of capital and technology and its gradual unfolding into unquestioned hegemonic principles affect the ways in which translated communication is mediated across cultural and linguistic boundaries? This special issue tries to approach a complex cluster of questions with socioeconomic significance which have so far received little attention in our field.

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