The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference

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9780415169301: The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference

Translation is stigmatized as a form of writing, discouraged by copyright law, deprecated by the academy, exploited by publishers and corporations, governments and religious organizations.
Lawrence Venuti exposes what he refers to as the 'scandals of translation' by looking at the relationship between translation and those bodies - corporations, governments, religious organizations, publishers - who need the work of the translator yet marginalize it when it threatens their cultural values.
Venuti illustrates his arguments with a wealth of translations from The Bible, the works of Homer, Plato and Wittgenstein, Japanese and West African novels, advertisements and business journalism.

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Review:

Over the past two decades, Lawrence Venuti has proven to be an elegant and extraordinarily nuanced translator of Italian literature. His version of I.U. Tarchetti's Fantastic Tales, for example, is a supremely readable take on that little-known master--and an interrogation of the Gothic style, with its reflexive hyperbole and near-invisible sense of humor. Now Venuti has fixed his sights on translation itself, arguing that it functions as a kind of cultural whipping boy. "Translation is stigmatized as a form of writing," he notes in his introduction, "discouraged by copyright law, depreciated by the academy, exploited by publishers and corporations, governments and religious organizations. Translation is treated so disadvantageously, I want to suggest, partly because it occasions revelations that question the authority of dominant cultural values and institutions."

Only a lunatic would dispute the fact that translators are overworked, underpaid, and generally given the short end of the stick when it comes to kudos. But Venuti has much bigger fish to fry. In his second chapter, he documents the tug of war between translation and our romantic conception of authorship: "Whereas authorship is generally defined as originality, self-expression in a unique text, translation is derivative, neither self-expression nor unique: it imitates another text." Elsewhere he takes a whack at copyright law, or discusses the peculiar perils of translating philosophy. (His example, Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, is real doozy, given Wittgenstein's own doubts about the mere possibility of human expression.) Venuti also provides an amusing deconstruction of Giovanni Guareschi's 1950 bestseller, The Little World of Don Camillo, in which the Italian author's Communist politics were methodically siphoned from the English translation.

The Scandals of Translation is intelligent, consistently provocative, and even includes moments of indignant humor. Why, though, did the author feel obliged to frame so many of his arguments in the elephantine style of contemporary academia? "Following Deleuze and Guattari (1987)," he writes, "I rather see language as a collective force, an assemblage of forms that constitute a semiotic regime." Yikes! Venuti must be aware that this particular sort of assemblage is virtually reader-proof. Perhaps he meant to fight scholarly fire with fire, torching the academy with its own instruments. But it's a shame that this fine study of translation seems occasionally to cry out for a translator of its own. --James Marcus

About the Author:

Lawrence Venuti is Professor of English at Temple University. He is a professional translator and the author of The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Trnaslation (Routledge, 1995).

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Venuti, Lawrence
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Descripción Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Translation is stigmatized as a form of writing, discouraged by copyright law, deprecated by the academy, exploited by publishers and corporations, governments and religious organizations. Lawrence Venuti exposes what he refers to as the scandals of translation by looking at the relationship between translation and those bodies - corporations, governments, religious organizations, publishers - who need the work of the translator yet marginalize it when it threatens their cultural values. Venuti illustrates his arguments with a wealth of translations from The Bible, the works of Homer, Plato and Wittgenstein, Japanese and West African novels, advertisements and business journalism. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780415169301

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Lawrence Venuti
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Descripción Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Translation is stigmatized as a form of writing, discouraged by copyright law, deprecated by the academy, exploited by publishers and corporations, governments and religious organizations. Lawrence Venuti exposes what he refers to as the scandals of translation by looking at the relationship between translation and those bodies - corporations, governments, religious organizations, publishers - who need the work of the translator yet marginalize it when it threatens their cultural values. Venuti illustrates his arguments with a wealth of translations from The Bible, the works of Homer, Plato and Wittgenstein, Japanese and West African novels, advertisements and business journalism. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780415169301

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Lawrence Venuti
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Descripción Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Translation is stigmatized as a form of writing, discouraged by copyright law, deprecated by the academy, exploited by publishers and corporations, governments and religious organizations. Lawrence Venuti exposes what he refers to as the scandals of translation by looking at the relationship between translation and those bodies - corporations, governments, religious organizations, publishers - who need the work of the translator yet marginalize it when it threatens their cultural values. Venuti illustrates his arguments with a wealth of translations from The Bible, the works of Homer, Plato and Wittgenstein, Japanese and West African novels, advertisements and business journalism. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780415169301

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VENUTI, LAWRENCE.
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