Pushing the Boundaries of Translation Studies
February 28, 2023 - Dr Şebnem Susam-Saraeva is a translation scholar with many feathers to her bow. Currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Trinity Long Room Hub, in association with Trinity’s School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, her ambitious project expands the scope of traditional translation studies by proposing a new approach to how we treat non-human languages and cultures.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Dr James Hadley, Director of the Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation, and as part of our recent Fellow in Focus discussion, Dr Susam-Saraeva (University of Edinburgh) spoke of her diverging research paths in translation studies where she has worked on popular music and social movements and more recently on maternal health and ecofeminism.
In her conversation with Early Career Researchers and staff in the Trinity Long Room Hub’s ideas space, Dr Susam-Saraeva also raised the idea of who has the right to translate whom as she referred to the controversy surrounding the translation of Amanda Gorman’s poems in the Netherlands: “I started questioning this idea that you have to be of a certain gender, a certain race, a certain background in order to be able to translate people from the same background.”
I started questioning this idea that you have to be of a certain gender, a certain race, a certain background in order to be able to translate people from the same background.Dr Şebnem Susam-Saraeva
Her current project “Cetacean communication in arts and music: Towards a new ethics of translation and representation' is a response to recent calls within translation studies to push the boundaries of research to languages and cultures of the more-than-human world.
As an avid whale-watcher, Dr Susam-Saraeva’s project also responds to the rapid loss of biodiversity we are currently facing and asks how we can be a “secondary witness” to the suffering of cetaceans. Here she sees a central role for music and art to act as a mediator. Her public lecture ‘Dolphin and Whale Communication in Arts and Music: Towards a New Ethics of Translation and Representation’ will delve into this topic in more detail and will take place at the Trinity Long Room Hub on the 2nd of March.
Dr Susam-Saraeva is the author of Translation and Popular Music. Transcultural Intimacy in Turkish-Greek Relations (2015) and Theories on the Move. Translation’s Role in the Travels of Literary Theories (2006). Her literary translations into Turkish include Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1993, 18 reprints by 2022).
Dr Susam-Saraeva is a Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Find out more about her fellowship here.
Aoife King, Communications Officer | Trinity Long Room Hub | email@example.com | 01 896 3895