What is the role of the literary translator when tasked with the translation of literary texts resulting from the experience of recent conflict? For the last three years, I have researched this question in the context of literary translation workshops organised by the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) and project partner AATI (Argentine Association of Translators and Interpreters) at Instituto Lenguas Vivas, Buenos Aires. This article examines the potential of the literary translation workshop for creating a space, personal as well as collective, in which narratives are shared, re-imagined, and passed on. It also investigates the particular nature of this space as intrinsically transnational, multi-vocal, collaborative and creative. I will argue that this space, open to dialogue and creativity, as well as experimentation and reflection, can make a valuable contribution to the work of other disciplines and discourses, such as memory studies. I will address the ‘ethics of translation’ for translators working on these texts, as well as the more practical questions concerning what a literary translator needs to know when working in contexts which are difficult, conflict-ridden, and multi-vocal, and how they deal with such texts in practice.
- translator’s ethics