DELC339:Translation as a Cultural Practice

Final-year, optional

What makes a good translation and how do translations do good? This module aims to help you understand the practice of translation as it has evolved historically from the 18th century to the present across European and American societies. The materials we study include historical textual sources (philosophical essays on the craft of translation from French, German and Hispanic authors of the 19th and 20th centuries), representative fictional texts reflecting on translation processes, and contemporary documents from the EU directorate on translation, PEN and the Translators' Association. We will also make considerable use of contemporary online resources as exemplified by Anglophone advocates of intercultural exchange such as Words Without Borders. Our aim is to look at translation as both a functional process for getting text in one language accurately into another and a culturally-inflected process that varies in its status and purpose from one context to another. We will pay particular attention to the practical role that literary translators play within the contemporary global publishing industry and consider the practicalities of following a career in literary translation in the Anglophone world.