University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Lawrence Venuti, October 27, 2011

Lawrence Venuti is a professor of English at Temple University where he works in early modern literature, British, American, and foreign poetic traditions, translation theory and history, and literary translation. He is the author of Our Halcyon Dayes: English Prerevolutionary Texts and Postmodern Culture (1989), The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (1995), and The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference (1998). He is the editor of the anthology of essays, Rethinking Translation: Discourse, Subjectivity, Ideology (1992), and of The Translation Studies Reader (2nd ed. 2004), a survey of translation theory from antiquity to the present.

In this interview, Venuti talks about how he came to be a translator.  Among other subjects he touches on in this interview are the role that translation plays in world literature, the invisibility of the translator, translation and difference, and the pedagogy of translation.

You might also be interested in Howard Goldblatt discussing his work as a translator, in a conversation which took place just after Mo Yan (whom Goldblatt translates) had won the Nobel Prize.

Download: audio, small video, or original.

During his visit to the University of Minnesota, Professor Venuti gave a talk entitled “Translation, Intertextuality, Interpretation,: in which he discussed how Intertextuality enables and complicates translation, preventing it from being an untroubled communication and opening the translated text to interpretive possibilities that vary with cultural constituencies in the receiving situation. Professor Venuti argues that to activate these possibilities and at the same time to improve the study and practice of translation, we must work to theorize the relative autonomy of the translated text and increase the self-consciousness of translators and readers of translations alike. He explored these ideas by considering several cases, including an Italian version of David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Kate Soper’s English version of Sebastiano Timpanaro’s study, The Freudian Slip, and his own English version of Melissa P.’s fictionalized memoir, 100 Strokes of the Brush before Bed.

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