Translation and Identity/Translation As Identity – Kenneth Kronenberg

:   we are not pieceworkers … we are a community of  intellectuals capable of coming together to act in our own interests   — Kenneth Kronenberg   :

No Peanutsistas will recall Kenneth Kronenberg’s essay, “Translation in a Corporate Era of Productivity at All Cost” from two years ago, and we’re honored now to share another of Kenneth’s thoughtful and relevant analyses, this time from his talk at the 17th Annual New England Translators’ Association Conference in Boston in May 2013.

In “Translation and Identity/Translation As Identity,” Kronenberg  reminds us that “the logic of corporatism is to convert us into linguistic appliances…. [But] we are more than commercial expedients, and we must not allow ourselves to be defined as such.”

He goes on to argue that 

the best translators bring something essential and vital to translation — ourselves. This crucial reality of translation is given very short shrift nowadays…. Unless we are willing to accept ourselves as mere tools … we need to appreciate more fully how our work selves connect with our personal histories – where we come from, the circumstances of our upbringings, and all of the particulars that make us who we are. That work of appreciation … makes it less likely that we will allow ourselves and the important work we do to be devalued. Paying attention to what we bring individually to our translations … doesn’t resolve all the inequalities in the translation marketplace. But it does help us to see ourselves not as isolated and interchangeable pieceworkers, but as a community of unusual and creative intellectuals capable of coming together to act in our own interests.

Read the full text here in .pdf format.

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