Dimensionen der Humantranslation / Dimensions of Human Translation

2022

Dimensionen der Humantranslation / Dimensions of Human Translation

Douglas Robinson
Pages 227-262

Translating Across the Human/ Nonhuman Divide: Towards a Sustainable Theory of Translation, or a Translational Theory of Sustainability

As an inroad into translating sustainability and sustaining translation, the article takes a close look at the translational interactions between humans and aliens in Ted Chiang’s novella “Story of Your Life” (1998) and the 2016 film adaptation, Arrival. The close reading covers two aspects of the story: (1) alienation from the familiar, so that the alien experience, which is so disconcerting at first, comes to feel ordinary, with metaphorical extensions of the human‑alien encounter to colonizers and the colonized and parents and children; and (2) coming unstuck in time, perceiving time from what is apparently the fourth dimension, so that temporal sequence is denarrativized. In two conclusions, the implications for “sustaining translation” (section 4) and “translating sustainability” (section 5) are considered, the latter in terms of both cultural sustainability and the sustainability of the natural environment on Earth.