Discussions of translation today often draw attention to ethical questions concerning how far translation facilitates an engagement with cultural difference: does translation – particularly translation into English – encourage an encounter with cultural and linguistic alterity , or simply suppress this alterity ? In what ways can translation avoid the assimilation of difference? To what extent is cultural homogenisation a feature of the market in which translation operates?
Many of these issues are relevant to thinking about translation in medieval contexts, particularly when it comes to considering which medieval texts get translated today, how they are translated, and for which audiences. However, when looking at translation in medieval texts themselves, modern ethical questions often need to be reframed. The purpose of the lecture will be to explore – by reference to examples from medieval French and Anglo-Norman works – how the ethics of translation as we now think of them may be illuminated or challenged by medieval texts. In short, how does medieval literature encourage us to rethink the contemporary ethics of translation?
Reception immediately follows the lecture.