Translation can be seen as producing a text in one language that will count as equivalent to a text in another. It can also be seen as a release of multiple signifying possibilities, an opening of the source text to Language in all its plurality. The first view is underpinned by the regime of European standard languages which can be lined up in bilingual dictionaries, by the technology of the printed book, and by the need for regulated communication in political, academic and legal contexts. The second view is most at home in multilingual cultures, in circumstances where language is not standardised (e.g., minority and dialectal communities, and oral cultures), in the fluidity of electronic text, and in literature. The first view sees translation as a channel; the second as a prism.
This volume explores prismatic modes of translation in ancient Egypt, contemporary Taiwan, twentieth-century Hungary, early modern India, and elsewhere. It gives attention to experimental literary writing, to the politics of language, to the practices of scholarship, and to the multiplying possibilities created by digital media. It charts the recent growth of prismatic modes in anglophone literary translation and translational literature; and it offers a new theorisation of the phenomenon and its agonistic relation to the 'channel' view. Prismatic Translation is an essential intervention in a rapidly changing field.