Wataru Koyama (author and editor) and Yuichi Asai (editor)
Tokyo: Sangen-sha, September, 2022
About the book: Is “translation” simply a matter of paraphrasing what is said in one language in another? By rethinking modern concepts and practices of “translation” and identifying ideologies behind them, such as nationalism, linguistic purism, and standard variety-centered understandings of language, On Translation presents a comprehensive, linguistic-anthropological framework for analyzing “translation” (i.e., interlingual, intralingual, and intersemiotic translations, in Roman Jakobson’s terms) as historical, sociocultural processes, crucially involving linguistic varieties (dialects and sociolects), language use, and semiotic interactions. Examining myriad examples from American Evangelicalism and Dispensationalism, Eugene Nida’s Bible translation and SIL/WBT, Descriptive Translation Studies and the Tel Aviv-Leuven Axis, Goethe’s theory of translation and Benjamin’s concept of pure language, language reforms in the Carolingian Renaissance and King Alfred’s nation-building enterprise, pseudo-translations involving Buddhist texts in Chinese and Macpherson’s The Poems of Ossian, to textless-translations as found in documents of the Tohono O’odham nation and the British East India Company, On Translation elucidates the historical, sociocultural emergences and contextualized/contextualizing (presupposing/entailing) semiotic functions of modern concepts and practices of “translation” and Translation Studies, by semiotically grounding them in pragmatic processes, deictically anchored onto communicative events, dynamically generating intra- or inter-(co(n))textual indexical or iconic linkages and thus unfolding in and creating ontico-epistemic spaces, or “worlds,” in which we, humans and non-humans, all live.
About the editor: Yuichi Asai was a HYI Linguistic and Semiotic Anthropology Training Program Visiting Scholar, 2021-22.