How translations are willed into existence
This paper will argue that translations are willed into existence in three conceivable ways: pull, push and shuffle. Pull is the most intuitive form. It corresponds, for example, to a publishing house that decides to translate a foreign novel. Here, the initiative to invest in a new translation project is almost entirely located on the target side. The push mode, in contrast, can be exemplified by a company that decides to localise its website to cater for foreign markets. Here the decisions to make translation happen are mostly located on the source side. The shuffle mode corresponds to those rare cases in which the process is located neither on the source nor on the target side, but straddles the semiotic barriers or folds that make acts of translating possible or necessary in the first place. The discussion affirms the status of translators as active players, or agents, of communication. If it is true that in real life translators rarely determine whether a sign will cross a semiotic fold or have much say in the process, in principle nothing prevents them from bringing their desires, motives, and strategies to the table. Translators can — and should — have a larger say on why, whether, and how new translated texts appear in the target environment.
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