Deconstruction and Translation: Positions, Pertinence and the Empowerment of the Translator
Published Online: Jan 01, 2017
This paper aims to present an overview of the theoretical positions adopted both within and beyond the translation community regarding the value of deconstruction to the practice and study of translation. In its examination of the arguments against the general pertinence of deconstruction to translation studies, it discusses the problem of the indeterminacy of meaning, the perceived lack of rigour associated with deconstructive practices and the ‘anything goes’ criticism levied against deconstructive readings of texts. It then goes on to look at the arguments favouring deconstruction as a pertinent theoretical framework for translation studies and evaluates the implications for translators of its emphasis on the interpretative process and the production of meaning. If the reader/translator is an active and empowered player in the interpretative process and thus adopts a key position in meaning production, the translator emerges as a creative text-producer possessing independent creative rights and powers. Given the increased visibility of the translator in these terms, we must now begin considering the nature of the creative rules and constraints which govern, delineate or constrain the translator’s position. The paper concludes with a discussion of a particular example of a translator assuming creative responsibility, and the textual and extra-textual implications of this choice.