Solid, Useful, Beautiful: Questioning Faithfulness and a Proposal for Architectural Terminology in Translational Discourse

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Abstract

Light and space, form follows function; maxims and metaphors have long been used to distil the
intangible aspects of theory and practice across disciplines. For translation studies, one of the most
famous, or rather infamous, of these adages is les belles infidèles, which compares translation to
women in that, like women, translations can either be beautiful or faithful, but never both. Perhaps
more famous now for the questions it raises rather than its use, les belles infidèles continues to be
examined in discussions of faithfulness and feminism in translational discourse.
With conceptual similarities surrounding agency, marginalisation, creation, execution, processes,
skopos, the distance between clients and creators (Floros, 2018, p. 4), the interdisciplinary nature of
both disciplines and their conceptualisation as both art and science, would it be possible to co-opt a
maxim from architecture and transplant it into our own discipline? Inspired by Floros’ essay
Productively losing control, or how Architecture can inspire translation ethics (2018), this paper
proposes the co-opting of terminology from architectural discourse and its application in translation
studies in order to ‘retire’ the problematic les belles infidèles and inspire further discussion on
faithfulness and the inherent aims of translation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Apr 2022
EventTranslation Studies Network of Ireland (TSNI) 2nd Annual Conference - Queen's University, Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Mar 20221 Apr 2022

Conference

ConferenceTranslation Studies Network of Ireland (TSNI) 2nd Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleTSNI
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period31/03/221/04/22

Keywords

  • translation
  • architecture

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