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Unit 5: Translation as representation

Summary of unit 5

Unit 5 of the META-FRASEIS video-presentations tackles metaphors used for translation in translation studies and focuses on the metaphor of translation as representation. It draws on the metaphor of the discourse on art, which assumes art to be a translation of meaning across codes and raises questions of whether the role of translators is similar to that of painters', who privilege narrative perspectives of reality in their work.

The unit approaches meaning representation through language and focuses on Foucault’s view that discourse constructs meaning and produces knowledge sustained in regimes of truth (Hall 1997). Translators should be aware of the potential of discursive formations to construct meaning in order to monitor the knowledge disseminated through translation in agreement with or challenging regimes of truth. As conception of art was reconfigured diachronically (Kövecses 2006), translators renegotiate their approach to meaning representation or to the narrative perspectives they intend to favour.

The unit touches upon the cognitive assumption that language represents a conceptualization of reality privileged by various languages, to relate it (though implicitly) to the knowledge discourse constructs in particular societies and periods of history. It further highlights the usefulness of this approach to foreign language teaching.

(Visual material from the campus of the University of Surrey, England, and Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.)


Hall, Stuart (ed). 1997. Representation – Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage.

Kövecses, Zoltán. 2006. Language, Mind and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Παναγιώτης Τέτσης, Eθνική Πινακοθήκη, Παράρτημα Ναυπλίου, Διάρκεια έκθεσης: 28/05/2010 -31/03 /2012 http://www.nationalgallery.gr/site/content.php?artid=310 (accessed 20 October 2012)