Nida: Day 7

There were two sessions today that were of interest, a presentation from Faculty member Paul Bandia on postcolonial translation studies, and a panel about the journal Translation and the general role of journals in Translation Studies.

Paul Bandia - "Postcolonial Translation Studies: From the Colony to the Postcolony to the Globalized World"

Paul is a professor at Concordia College in Montreal, and a leading figure in African postcolonial studies, with a special interest in Translation Studies. In his presentation he argued that postcolonial studies has not considered closely enough the linguistic and cultural practices in the postcolony. Translation Studies itself has often assumed that translation is an act of "tranfer" or "exchange" between two stable or monlithic linguistic or cultural entities. However, close attention to the linguistic practices in the postcolony shows the heterogeneity of postcolonial society and the diverse modes of intercultural communication to be found there.

In particular, Paul sought to break down common binaries between East and West, between orality and writing, between majority and minority voices, between dominant and dominated, between colonized and colonizing, and between tradition and modernity. In fact, translation in these context always negotiates among these polarities, bridging the gap between worlds of unequal power relations. He described translation as a (re) articulation of identity, as mediation between tradition and modernity, and as a "bearing across," as African men themselves were born across the world, translated in the flesh.


I wanted to put in a plug for the journal Translation that has grown out of the Nida Institute's efforts in this space. The editor Siri Nergaard spoke elegantly about the need for a journal that opens a space for transdisciplinary investigation of translation across the world. Siri described the journal in this way:

  • A collection and representation of the ways in which translation as a fundamental element of culture transforms our contemporary world.

  • An open space for debate on post-translation studies, moving beyond disciplinary boundaries toward transdisciplinary discourses on translational nature of societies.

  • Based on a recognition that societies are increasingly hybrid, diasporic, border-crossing, intercultural, multilingual, and global.

Several of the essays from the issue are available freely, so take a look. I am making plans to adapt a paper for submission to Translation, as it seems obvious to me that there should be more cross-pollination between biblical studies and theoretical and practical approaches to translation.