Translation research at Goldsmiths focuses on translation as a form of cultural production, a metaphor for cultural encounter and a means for understanding the world.
Translation Studies is a centre for world-class teaching and research and delivers the MA in Translation at Goldsmiths, University of London.
In addition to offering an MA in Translation with specialist pathways, we produce translations and publish academic work on a range of translation topics, run translator-training sessions and short courses on communication, hold talks and conferences, share podcasts of our sessions and disseminate news, comment and work experience opportunities through our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Translation as negotiation
Our research questions how translation can be thematised along philosophical and political lines, enabling exchange and debate across rival positions and addressing problems that go beyond interlingual conceptualisations. Translation is a practice located at the nexus of cultures, ideas, history and politics, requiring multiple negotiations with and across difference. The subjective work these negotiations require offers a powerful lens through which to examine the creation and representation of knowledge.
By exploring the territory between translation and a range of cognate frameworks drawn from literary and cultural theory, political philosophy and philosophical hermeneutics, translation research advances approaches rooted in the understanding of issues of ethics, justice, identity development, community relations and political recognition at the heart of intercultural practice. Above all, in exploring how the scrutiny of translation as a creative practice, translation research can enable us to theorise alternative ways in which we might construct and enhance equitable exchange in multicultural society.
The concept of ‘cultural translation’ is one of the most alluring yet elusive concepts in contemporary humanities. Since its introduction in cultural anthropology, the concept has been deployed across various social disciplines to challenge binary views of cultural identity, to reinforce ideas of communication based on the principle of exchange between peoples and to theorize the ethical, political and cultural challenges posed by the increasingly interconnected nature of our communities. But despite its de rigueur status and promise of a new paradigm for understanding the problematics of cultural difference, the presence of cultural translation is often taken as a self-evident and accounts have tended towards the diffuse.
In her recent book-length study of cultural translation based on an in-depth engagement with both the dominant theoretical dialogues on the subject and their realization in a real-world context, Goldsmiths researcher Dr Sarah Maitland advances the first critically grounded definition and shapes an extended critical response to the dizzying array of contributions on the subject from translation studies and beyond. What is Cultural Translation? draws on diverse case studies from across the cultural domain, including works of theatre, film, television and literature, the built environment, current affairs, international relations and online media, to uncover processes of negotiation and adaptation most closely associated with the translation of texts behind the production and contestation of everyday cultural phenomena. It urges readers towards a view of translation in its broadest understanding, both as a means for understanding how we shape the cultural realms in which we live and as a touchstone for what we see, do and say in public life.
Sarah Maitland is Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies and coordinates the MA in Translation. Sarah is a member of the Executive Council of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS) and is author of various articles on cultural translation, translation philosophy and hermeneutics. In addition to cultural translation, her current research focuses on the politics of recognition and its bearing on questions of ethics and justice in multicultural society.
Dr Maitland leads the project TransCast: Making Translating and Interpreting Research Public. TransCast can be found on Facebook and SoundCloud, and hosts free podcasts of cutting-edge translation research for students, scholars and practitioners of translation worldwide.
Sarah is also a professional theatre translator and has written for the Theatre Royal Bath, the Unicorn and New Diorama theatres in London and the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.
Dr Rita Sakr is Lecturer in World Literature, a member of the Executive Council of the International Comparative Literature Association, and Middle-Eastern Literatures and Cultures editor for the Literary Encyclopedia. She has written on post-imperial world literature, migrant writings, Middle-Eastern studies, Arab and Turkish literature and critical geographies, human rights in transnational literature, as well as James Joyce’s work in relation to the French nineteenth-century novel. Rita’s two monographs, two co-edited collections, documentary film, and range of teaching have involved extensive translation across Arabic, French, and English.