Transnational Voices in Self-Translation (2019 NeMLA Roundtable)

Genevieve Waite's picture
March 21, 2019 to March 24, 2019
District Of Columbia, United States
Subject Fields: 
French History / Studies, Languages, East Asian History / Studies, Spanish and Portuguese History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

Please submit a 200-word abstract & C.V. to by September 15, 2018.


While much has been published on the practice and process of non-authorial translation (George Steiner, Walter Benjamin, and Jacques Derrida, among others), until recently, comparatively fewer critical works have focused on the phenomenon of self-translation. Though self-translation is, in its most basic sense, the process of transposing one’s own writing into another language, a number of scholars have begun to study the extent to which it can also be viewed as a creative mode of revision that is connected to specific cultural, linguistic, aesthetic, and psycholinguistic processes. Indeed, over the past decade, “self-translation studies” (see Anselmi 2012) has emerged as a new and growing field of interest in academia. In the wake of such recent texts as Self-Translation: Brokering Originality in Hybrid Culture (2013), Self-Translation and Power: Negotiating Identities in European Multilingual Contexts (2017), and On Self-Translation: Meditations on Language (2018), the “Transnational Voices in Self-Translation” roundtable panel will present some innovative perspectives on this intriguing literary phenomenon.


What is at stake when authors translate their own work? How does self-translation engender a certain sense of semantic creativity and rewriting? Can self-translation be (re-)defined? If a more complete understanding of the word “self-translation” is to be established, it will be the result of an ongoing, interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars. The panelists on this roundtable will therefore offer some preliminary answers to this growing critical debate. Panelists may focus on texts from any language or genre.



This roundtable panel will offer new perspectives on the literary process and practice of self-translation. Panelists will present their work on this topic while engaging in an interdisciplinary conversation about authors who transpose their own writing into another language. Participants will address the following questions: What is at stake when writers translate their own work? How does self-translation promote a certain sense of linguistic creativity and rewriting? And how can one (re-)define self-translation? Professors, translators, comparative literature scholars, and graduate students are invited to participate in this roundtable.


Contact Info: 

Genevieve Waite

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