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Translating women: gender and representation

Multiple research perspectives exist on translation and gender — an area of study that still has much unexplored 'terrain'. A recent research initiative worked to address various questions at the heart of contemporary debates about identity, gender and power in our plural societies.
Translating women: gender and representation
Funded by the EU, the 'Translation and Gender' (TRANS) project carried out a critical examination of major contemporary perspectives on gender, culture and translation in an interdisciplinary perspective. The study also explored Nancy Huston's practice of self-translation and crossover in the context of feminist theory and translation.

Research took into account various related theories (e.g. psychoanalytical theory) and the works of feminist theorists and writers such as Sherry Simon, Gayatri Spivak, Judith Butler, Joan Scott, Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva, among others. The goal was to produce an overview of the context and questions already raised in the area of translation studies and feminist theory, and the relationship between the two. From there, work concentrated on contemporary feminist theory not yet considered in the area of translation and gender, such as that of Italian feminist Rosi Braidotti, and on gender metaphorics in translation.

Another objective was to explore the works of authors engaged in so-called border-writing and self-translation. Research questions aimed at linking the micro (i.e. textual) and macro (i.e. social/historical/intercultural) aspects of translation and gender guided this particular analysis exercise.

Project researchers reflected on the epistemological horizon of theoretical approaches at the intersection of feminist studies and translation studies with a view to determine how the epistemic questions raised in this study could contribute to a general theory of translation. The work and results of this line of research were included in an article prepared for the Canadian journal TTR (Traduction, Terminologie, Rédaction). Other related epistemological questions in translation studies were also examined in an interview with the leading French philosopher and translation studies scholar Jean-René Ladmiral, published in the international translation journal META in September 2012 (Volume 57/3).

Other activities included the organisation of two major international conferences and several academic events. Presentations of the work carried out during the TRANS project have received favourable attention. This bodes well for research on the subject of translation and gender, with implications for policymaking aimed at the inclusion and participation of all citizens, in the interests of social cohesion.

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