Translation: A Relational Practice
This exchange explores the question of what a relational understanding of translation might be. It starts with the assumption that translation is a practice in which human and nonhuman agents ceaselessly engage in a process of relating mediated by nonrelation. Jean-Luc Nancy characterizes this paradoxical condition as the »without relation of relation.« His dilation on the notion of rapport (relationality, relationship, report), alongside notions of untranslatability in philosophy, contribute to our understanding of translation as a relational nonrelation. What is at stake are concepts and syntactic or idiomatic constructs that defy equivalency across languages. These so-called »untranslatables« define nonrelation relationally and point to strategies and workarounds created in the face of unbridgeable leaps and lapses. The problem of untranslatability straddles genres: film, journalism, human-computer interaction and art, among others. In this exchange, the poetics (and politics) of non-relation are given full thrush in the context of transmedial relational practices.