How Literary Translation Helps Shift Power: Critical Linking, November 14, 2019

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“Close your eyes. What do you picture when you hear China? How about Japan, or Korea? Did a particular scene, person, or image come to mind? If you’ve never lived in or travelled to one of these countries—and even if you have—those images probably came from something you watched or read. Whether it came from a news report, travel blog, film or work of fiction, our understanding of these far-flung countries is limited by what gets translated into ourlanguage. But who and what determines which voices and whose stories we get to hear? Whose voices are we not hearing?”

More translation = more voices. Here for it.


“‘So here’s the takeaway/ When we step up for survivors/ When we stop sealing them off in shame/ When we quit interrogating them with stupid questions/ Look what happens,’ she continued. ‘Books are written, laws are changed/ We remember we were born to create/ To not only survive, but look hot and celebrate/ Tonight you must come away knowing/ That I will always, always give a damn about you/ The way you gave a damn about me.'”

Chanel Miller is grace and strength personified.


“The staff started noticing something strange in summer 2018, when reserved books weren’t where they were supposed to be. Then came a comment card from someone claiming to be hiding them, Ammon said. ‘I noticed a large volume of Books attacking our President. I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds. Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure,’ the card said.”

Who wants to tell this person that every time they hide a book, the library usually reorders it, boosting that author’s sales…

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