Translation at the cross-roads: time for the transcreational turn? Translation Studies is a young discipline, with its “name and nature” still the object of discussion in the 1970’s (Holmes, 1988). As to the “nature” of the discipline, ‘interpreting studies’ has generally been seen as a sub-discipline of the generic term ‘translation’, and this paper will follow suit. Clearly, though, literary translators, technical translators, court and community interpreters require very different skills and are rewarded different status. Yet, these translators and interpreters (T/Is) are all very much at the same crossroads for exactly the same reasons: to what extent can or should these professionals mediate? The idea that translation should be considered a form of ‘intercultural mediation’ (IM) (Katan, 2013) has been popularised in academic circles ever since the ‘cultural turn’ of the 1980s. As a result, academics have been calling T/Is "experts in intercultural communication” (Holz-Mäntäri, 1984); "mediators" (Hatim & Mason, 1990); "cross-cultural specialists" (Snell-Hornby, 1992); "cultural mediators" (Katan, 1999/2004) and “cultural interpreters” (Gonzalez & Tolron, 2006; Harris, 2000; Mesa, 2000). This ontological change of perception of T/Is as cultural mediators, however, remains very much more of an academic rather than professional understanding of the role and habitus (Katan, 2011; 2012). Moreover, the T/I’s traditional language mediation role is itself under threat. The focus of this paper is, hence, first to clarify the difference between language and IM, then to analyse who is actually doing IM in practice, and finally to suggest a way forward for the translator at the crossroads.
KATAN, DAVID MARK
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