Translation as a Relational Practice

Wednesday, 8 May 2019, 7.30 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Conversation with
Emily Apter | Moritz Gansen | Annika Haas

Translation, generally speaking, can be conceived as a relational practice of mediation among actors. As such, it potentially both enables and interrupts communication, the dissemination of knowledge as well as the modulation and flow of information. It is, in this sense, never a neutral and transparent process. But while theoretically we may know about all these intricacies and limits, about the complexity and interminability of translation, practically speaking we ceaselessly engage in translations, often unaware they are at work at all. Politics, economies, art, sociality, the so-called digital – all require and enact processes of translation at various levels. Translation hence becomes a site of negotiation regarding the nature of relations as such, raising questions about the ethical implications of translation and what a “just” translation, as Emily Apter has recently put it, might be.

The conversation will focus on these and other aspects, performatively engaging certain “untranslatables” that allow us to discuss translation as an epistemic and an epidemic, as a political and a pedagogical, as an artistic and an aesthetic practice. We will discuss translation from the perspective of its practitioners, scholars, artists, and, most importantly, relational beings.