Visibility Now: Historicizing Foreign Presences in Translation

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41 Citations (Scopus)



Visibility is proposed in this article as an inverse corollary to Venuti's notion of invisibility and a site of methodological interest for translation history. By historicizing the visibility of translators and of other foreign elements in translations and paratexts, we can trace broader cultural-aesthetic agendas related to translation as they change over time. This essay demonstrates such changes in medieval and Renaissance translations. Impeding the practice and study of visibility have been ideologies strongly favoring invisibility, such as those ultimately derived from the Western discipline's founding myth of Babel, or from post-Romantic notions of literary value. But the visibility of the foreign has been – and is, in contemporary, experimental and digital translations – a potential aesthetic resource, a locus of friction and interest, and an index to historically changing attitudes to alterity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-200
JournalTranslation Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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