Translation is the canary in the coalmine

The choice of translator, in this case, is similarly part of the message. It’s about the opportunity, the space for visibility created by the act of translation, and who gets to occupy that space.

The question is not principally about who ‘may’ (who has permission) or even ‘can’ (is able to) write or translate particular experiences. The question is who is, institutionally, given the space to articulate this experience, to participate, to be visible. Who gets to have a seat at the table?

This is a good moment to consider the relative simplicity of what was, and is, asked for: Greater care and inclusivity, from publishers and other gatekeepers of the literary industry, in how decisions about who translates particular texts are made. It is simple, and it is important.

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Professor of translation studies at Utrecht University, linguist, writer, poet.

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Haidee Kotze

Haidee Kotze

Professor of translation studies at Utrecht University, linguist, writer, poet.

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