The Queerness of Translation
What’s so queer about translation? This presentation proposes the idea of an inherent relationship between queerness—that indistinct and continually shifting linguistic, cultural, and theoretical signifier of gender identity and nonnormative sexuality—and the ethics of translation. Here the figure of the queer translator is conceptualized as a complex and multifaceted self, with a body in action, sexual desires, personal passions, and political engagements that extend far beyond the act of translation.The speaker will use the example of James S. Holmes, a founding father of the academic field of translation studies, but also a “pink poet,” one of the 20th century’s most renowned translators of Dutch poetry into English, and gay, leather and HIV/AIDS activist in Amsterdam. The presentation will draw not only upon the multifaceted linguistic activity of Holmes himself in the historical context of images from 1970s and 80s visual culture and media, but also theoretical texts by queer thinkers and others who have challenged the often unspoken prohibition of speaking of oneself in academic discourse. The speaker will also show how these embodied acts of becoming part of the narrative that each translates or transmits also become a kind of ethical imperative, one that benefits not only “one’s self” (or “selves”), but perhaps countless others as well. What kinds of examples does Holmes’ work suggest for us as translators and interpreters in New England today, as facilitators of access to information, services, and other forms of societal inclusion regardless of gender identification? And what challenges arise when gender inclusion may require a shift in our own vocabulary and grammar, not to mention a reconsideration of more fundamental (or queer) questions of translational ethics?
Christopher Larkosh is an associate professor in the Department of Portuguese at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. His research as a comparatist also engages languages and national cultures beyond the Lusophone world (Argentina, Quebec, Italy, Turkey, India, Japan). His first published work in English connecting queer theory to translation studies dates from 1996, and continues in the 2011 collection, Re-Engendering Translation: Transcultural Practice, Gender/Sexuality and the Politics of Alterity (St. Jerome/Routledge) among other articles and collections. He is the director of Tagus Press, a university publisher of books for the global Lusophone diaspora.
In his life outside of academia, he is a US-Italian dual national and polyglot, who views the multilingual, translational, and migratory nature of his own life, whether explicitly sexual or otherwise, as perhaps its most salient cultural feature, whether as a freelance translator from Italian and Spanish; a literary translator from Portuguese, French, and German; a journalist and newscaster at Polish Radio Warsaw in the early years of post-Communist transition; or an international LGBTQ+ activist in the US, Japan, Poland, Argentina, and Italy.Palliative Care and End of Life: Challenging Conversations
Widely published literary translator Michael Goldman will discuss the trajectory for
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Endnote Speaker: Barry Slaughter Olsen
Technology and Interpreting: The Good Ol' Days Weren't Always Good and Tomorrow Ain't as Bad as It Seems
Interpreting and technology are becoming only more intertwined. Thanks to growing demand and breakthrough technology to deliver the service in new ways, interpreting, which was once a cottage industry, now garners the attention of everyone from corporate executives to Silicon Valley startups. But what does that mean for individual interpreters and the profession in general? How will it affect the way you work? Or how you find work? Where are things headed? Should you be worried or excited? Join Professor Olsen as he takes a look back at interpreting’s relationship with technology over the last 100 years and draws conclusions on what this means for interpreters now and what it may mean for our profession’s future.
Barry Slaughter Olsen is a veteran conference interpreter and technophile with over two decades of experience interpreting, training interpreters, and organizing language services. He is an associate professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), the founder and copresident of InterpretAmerica, and general manager of multilingual operations at ZipDX. He is a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). For updates on interpreting, training, and technology, follow him on Twitter: @ProfessorOlsen.