Translation and Event

Lydia Liu will join us as Nida Professor at this year's Nida School of Translation Studies. In her work on translation and event, Liu offers a new approach to thinking translation, saying,

In this sense, the question as to which translated or translatable text qualifies as an event, or even a global event, depends very much on the ways in which we analyze the temporality and
spatiality of its discursive mobility, hence its historicity. To bring the eventfulness of translation into critical view, one must stop thinking about translation as a volitional act of matching words or building equivalences of meanings between languages; rather we should start by taking it as a precarious wager that enables the discursive mobility of a text or a symbol, for better or for worse. The wager releases the multiplicity of the text and opens it up to an uncertain future, more often than not to an uncertain political future."
(Liu, "The Eventfulness of Translation: Temporality, Difference, and Competing Universals," translation: a transdisciplinary journal, Spring 2014, 153.)

What might be involved in this shift from thinking translation as "volitional act of equivalence" toward a thinking of translation as "precarious wager," releasing multiplicities/mobilities of the text? Is this wager precarious only if still in the mindset of equivalence? What roles and responsibilities might this demand from a community in negotiating these uncertain futures?