The Politics of Translation

Translation plays an important role in every aspect of our lives and that includes politics. The phrase “the politics of translation” is often associated with the names of various authors like Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, books, or ideologies but it can also refer to what the right approach to the translation process is.

As it is interesting to see what the relations between politics and translations are, we will have a look at the history of the phrase “the politics of translation” and its connotations. For us, however, the most important politic of translation is to provide an immaculate product that meets the criteria of our customers and serves their purposes. It is simple to achieve that with our experienced team of translators, their knowledge, education, expertise, and dedication to the process.


The politics of translation and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

If you search for the term “the Politics of Translation” one of the first results to appear will be related to Spivak. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is an Indian scholar, literary theorist, and feminist critic. She has made a significant statement on “the politics of translation” related to the role of translation as an important factor in the feminist agenda and supporting women’s rights. She believes that translation is a way to understand various cultures and languages and then identify the role of women in them. Spivak is well-known for her work in the postcolonial field and engagement with cultural subalternity.

Another important factor for translators, which is associated with the name Gayatri Spivak, is the Translator’s Preface. She introduced the idea in 1967 when she translated the book De la grammatologie by Jacques Derrida.

Today, Spivak is still an important figure in the translation industry with her “innovative for the time” ideas about the role and importance of translation. She is rightfully related to the term “the politics of translation” since she has clad this notion into a specific meaning.


The politics of translation in international relations

Politics is a term often associated with foreign relations. Since translation acts as a bridge between two different languages and cultures, we need to consider its effect on international relations as well. In their book The Politics of Translation in International Relations by Zeynep Gulsah Capan, Filipe dos Reis, and Maj Grasten, the authors state that “Translation makes international relations.” They see the process as a form of transformation of notions, ideas, rules, and challenges from one language into another. Here the role of the translator is very important as it is up to them to be in the shoes of the speaker and act as a political leaders themselves. The book deals not only with the theory but also with the empirical work of translators who need to transform ideas, struggle to find the right connotations, and often give voice to the powerless or mute the leaders.

It is essential to point out that the work of the translators in an international setting is very important. They bear the responsibility of correctly rendering the words into the target language without changing their meaning.

Quite often translation can improve readability and understanding. The motto of this service can be rendered as: “Stay through to the content but express the meaning in the most suitable words.”


Our “politics” of translation

We have a simplified idea of the notion of “politics” when it comes to translation. To us, it means following certain principles that guarantee the quality of the translation and the satisfaction of the customer as well as everybody involved in the process. We apply those principles in any service that we offer – from website localization to technical document translation, from clinical translation to using the latest translation management system (TMS). This is guaranteed by the expertise of our translators, salespeople, and management representatives who follow the established rules in the industry and are open to new ideas and suggestions at the same time.

Some of the main notions related to a quality translation are:

  • Ensuring coherence with other translated materials
  • Using the proper format (dates, digits, currencies)
  • Including clear references
  • Providing an ISO 17100-compliant workflow process
  • Maintaining an established quality assurance process
  • Guaranteeing visibility and transparency of the work process
  • Following language rules
  • Using the necessary style and format (as per document specifications or customer requirements)
  • Implementing cutting-edge technology

All of these aspects are important but the secret of high-quality translations lies in establishing and following a company policy that ensures proper understanding of both customer and translators' needs. A good LSP is a company that knows how to keep employees happy and engaged with the process while paying the necessary attention to the customer who is always right.

A translation vendor needs to win and keep the trust and loyalty of the customer similar to the way a politician earns the votes of their supporters. Unlike politics, however, translation always strives to deliver the promised results in a straightforward and transparent way.


Related Blog Articles

translated document
Seemingly Small Translation Errors Have Big Implications
Read article ›
Translation Review Best Practices
Read article ›
employee designing website
When To Use a Translation Proxy for Your Website
Read article ›
person typing on computer and writing in notebook
4 Things Your Translation Provider Can Do With Legacy Translations
Read article ›