Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account

aAuthor: Mona Baker

Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account demonstrates that translation is part of the institution of war and that translators and interpreters participate in circulating as well as resisting the narratives that create the intellectual and moral environment for violent conflict. Drawing on narrative theory and using numerous examples from historical as well as contemporary conflicts, the author provides an original and coherent model of analysis that pays equal attention to micro and macro aspects of the circulation of narratives in translation, to translation and interpreting, and to questions of dominance and resistance.

 The study is particularly significant at this juncture of history, with the increased interest in the positioning of translators in politically sensitive contexts, the growing concern with translators’ and interpreters’ divided loyalties in settings such as Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and a host of other arenas of conflict, and the emergence of several activist communities of translators and interpreters with highly politicized agendas of their own, including Babels, Translators for Peace, Tlaxcala, ECOS and Translators and Interpreters Peace Network.

 Including further reading suggestions at the end of each chapter, Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account will be of interest to students on courses in translation, intercultural studies and sociology as well as the reader interested in the study of social and political movements.

 Perceptive, provocative and always engaging, Mona Baker demonstrates with a clarity that I have not seen anywhere else how the real-world activities of translators play a key role in both promoting and challenging, consciously and unconsciously, the narratives that give such powerful representation to competing social identities and opposed political groupings. This is a timely investigation into a hidden realm of translation practice where the stakes – human, political and international – are growing ever higher. (David Johnston, Queen’s University of Belfast)

In Translation and Conflict Mona Baker addresses central issues of our time, ranging from cultural and ideological conflict to war. Partisan and controversial, Baker’s book contributes to ongoing discussions in translation studies of the relationship of translation to ideology and activist interventions. She introduces the sociological concept of narrative as a powerful new theoretical framework for analyzing and assessing translations and the role of translators in conflictual situations. Using narrativity to frame the activities and products of translators, a framework that is particularly productive in relationship to activist translations, she interrogates and expands discourses about translation as a force for changing the world. (Maria Tymoczko, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA)

 Mona Baker is Professor of Translation Studies and Director of the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester. She is author of In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation, editor of The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, Founding Editor of The Translator, and Vice President of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies.

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