Ásdís Sigmundsdóttir

Translation as a Space for Self-Promotion

Common ideas of translation that visualize it as a mediating process between cultures often render the translator near invisible. In this formulation the translator is a go-between that facilitates the movement, transition and transformation of cultural products but is himself less important. Historically this has not always been the case. To exemplify how notions of translation and the projected image of the translator has evolved I will discuss how 16th century translators used their translations as tools for self-promotion. How the nature of translations as being “in-between” or mediators between cultures opened up a space which gave the translators a chance of displaying culturally valued skills and knowledge. To demonstrate this I will discuss a little- known English verse rendering by Thomas Delapeend of a French translation of an Italian novella from 1565. The poem is a rewriting and a translation with numerous changes and additions, both silent and signaled. The difference between the silent changes and the ones the translator draws attention to, give an idea about what the translator wanted to emphasize in his own work. They also pose questions about changing cultural values, the production of art and its practical application.