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Where does translation take place? Introduction

Watch this video introducing Week 3 and the relationship between translation and space.
When we think about the spaces of translation of the places in which it happens, there’s a number of images that we can conjure up. One is that of a book and of its pages, in which translation and the original can be both visible or can collapse, one into the other. Another is the public space of the museum, in which multiple languages encounter each other. Or we can even think, perhaps, of a conflict zone, in which interpreters mediate between factions, often in very difficult circumstances. There are many other spaces, though, in which translation and interpreting take place. And each one of them has got its own specificities, its own peculiarities.
These spaces can be on the borders between states, between languages, between cultures. But they’re also inside our nations and inside our increasingly multi-lingual cities. One of the key concepts that we will look at this week in working with translation and interpreting is that of linguistic landscapes. We will look at the way in which translation inhabits our everyday spaces and our everyday lives. And one of the things that we will see is that translation is not neutral. It changes spaces, it transforms them, and it transforms the way in which we can access space, who can access it, and to what extent.
As we will see, for instance, with the specific case of one word, gender, and the way in which it is translated or the way in which, at times, it travels even without actual translation. Space, as we will see, is also not neutral. And it is important to consider issues of space when we are working with translation. Where do we position something on a page, for instance? That translation and its original will change the relationship of power between those texts. Or what do we do when we have to decide where to sit or stand a patient, a doctor, and the interpreter working with them within a room?
All of these issues are crucial to make the most of translation, to make translation work with us. So by the end of this week, you will be able to spot translation, to recognize it, but also to think about the spatial issues that will allow you to prepare for translation and to make the most of it.

In this section we will look at the relationship between translation and space. Translation is, literally, all around us, whether we see it or not.

We encounter it on the pages of books and on our computer screens, on the streets of our cities, in airports, museums and schools. And the way in which we think about the space around us, the way in which we inhabit it, whether we feel at home in it or not, is closely linked with languages and with translation.

We will look at how writers, musicians, educators and therapists use translation in different walks of life.

We will examine the linguistic landscapes we inhabit and the opportunities they offer (or the barriers they set up). And we will see how we respond to the way in which translation is presented to us, as we go about our daily lives.

As translators or as users of translation, we will also ask ourselves how we can organise our space to make the most of translation.

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Working with Translation: Theory and Practice

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