Monday, 12 April 2010

Round table 'The Labour of Translation', London 27 April 2010

An interesting-looking event with a philosophical angle for those of you in the London area:

The Labour of Translation: A Public Roundtable Discussion on Working amid Languages

With Rada Ivekovic, Julie Boeri, Arianna Bove and Matteo Mandarini

Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 4-6pm
School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, University of London, Arts 1.28 (Francis Bancroft Building)

The work of translation is often rendered invisible in academia and fares little better in daily life generally. It has repeatedly been remarked how both the intellectual and political dimensions of translating become subsumed under the normalising drives of authorship, clarity, and efficiency. Less noticed is the way the actual work of translating gets discounted in the process, and academic translators too often form an undercommons of labour in the university. Organising efforts like the National Union of Professional Interpreters and Translators do much to formalise and concretise this labour both inside the university and beyond in the social factory more generally. The discounted way working amid languages is treated in the academia is reflected in society as a whole. Migrants who negotiate multiple languages and their social codes often get coded themselves as unskilled. Working class, ethnic, and regional dialects, accents, and vocabularies may be acknowledged on their own but those who employ them rarely get credit for the skills of translating, matching, or switching with dominant languages. In social movements, the work of translation can very often be taken for granted, yet volunteer networks of interpreters such as Babels are indispensable in making transnationalisation possible. The informal labour of translation, the migrant's multiple communications, the global address of social movement, the secret vocabularies of new affinities, and the code-switching of personal technologies still pass unnoticed. Valorised immaterial labour is apparently elsewhere. This roundtable will bring together working translators and working academics, often in the same bodies, to discuss not the politics of translation alone but the politics of the labour of translation.

All Welcome

Contact: Emma Dowling e.dowling at

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