This is a highly interdisciplinary study that remains aware of the importance of theoretical paradigms as it brings concepts from international law, social systems theory and even theology to bear on translation. Self-reference is a recurrent theme. The book invites us to read translations for what they can tell us about translating and about translators' own perceptions of their role. The argument throughout is for more self-reflexive translation studies.
The languages covered in individual contributions include Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Rajasthani, Somali, Swahili, Tamil, Tibetan and Turkish as well as the Europhone literatures of Africa, the tongues of medieval Europe, and some major languages of Egypt's five thousand year history. Neighbouring disciplines invoked include anthropology, semiotics, museum and folklore studies, librarianship and the history of writing systems.
Contributors to Volume 1: Doris Bachmann-Medick, Cosima Bruno, Ovidi Carbonell, Martha Cheung, G. Gopinathan, Eva Hung, Alexandra Lianeri, Carol Maier, Christi Ann Marrill, Paolo Rambelli, Myriam Salama-Carr, Ubaldo Stecconi and Maria Tymoczko.
Ranging from epistemological questions of description and historiography to the politics of language, including the language of translation research, the book tackles issues of research design and methodology, and goes on to examine the kind of disciplinary knowledge produced in translation studies, who produces it, and whose interests the dominant paradigms serve. The focus is on historical and ideological problems, but the crisis of representation that has affected all the human sciences in recent decades has left its mark.
As the essays in this collection explore the transgressive nature of crosscultural representation, whether in translations or in the study of translation, they remain attentive to institutional contexts and develop a self-reflexive stance.
They also chart new territory, taking their cue from ethnography, semiotics, sociology and cultural studies, and tackling Meso-American iconic scripts, Bourdieu's constructivism, translation between philosophical paradigms, and the complexities of translation concepts in multicultural societies.