Articles by: Sruti Bala

Can Translation Do Justice?

Can Translation Do Justice?

This contribution addresses the question of translation in art and art education. Every artist and teacher concerned with social and planetary justice, no matter what genre or art form, must find a mode of ‘translating’ the lives of those at the margins of society into a story, a performance, a piece of music, an artful encounter. Used in this sense, translation is never only or simply a matter of finding the right equivalences. That search for equivalences between life forms and lived realities that are radically different from each other is itself far from simple or a neutral process. Who is entitled to ‘translate’ others, to represent their voices and viewpoints and on what terms? What makes a good translator? Good intentions are not enough; in fact, they can often do more harm than good. Translation is as much a deeply artistic as well as a deeply political issue. This contribution offers reflections on the work of translation as a core task of the artist and art educator. Keywords: artists as translators, asymmetrical relations, necessary misapplication, repair