In The Translator’s Invisibility (1995), Lawrence Venuti claims that reviewers contribute to the notion of ‘invisibility’ of the translator by rarely addressing the ‘fact of translation’ at all. He asserts that, on the rare occasions that translations are addressed, reviewers’ comments tend to focus on its style and in particular fluency, neglecting other relevant considerations. This paper will take Venuti’s brief investigation as its inspiration and provide a comprehensive update on the current position of translation in reviews in the United Kingdom. In order to do this, it will present the findings from an analysis of more than 2000 reviews of translated works in 2015, taken from three distinct types of ‘platform’: a popular platform open for comments from the public (amazon.co.uk); mainstream newspapers/supplements (The Times Literary Supplement & The Guardian); and specialised literary magazines (London Review of Books & Literary Review). The paper will aim to answer the following questions: how frequently is translation acknowledged in the first place? Do reviewers tend to comment upon the translations at hand? If so, by what criteria is the quality of the translation being assessed? The paper will demonstrate that the situation of the translator in the United Kingdom has evolved in several significant ways over the past twenty or thirty years and that translators are no longer as invisible as previously imagined, at least within reviews of translated works. The paper will subsequently examine the status of translation in wider society and draw upon the work of various translation associations and organisations to determine whether the increased invisibility of translation within the reviews is also indicative of, or indeed inherently connected to, an increased visibility of translation in the United Kingdom more broadly.
Gray, M. (2022). Translation under Review: Placing the Increased Visibility of Translation in British Reviews into Its Wider Societal Context. In M. Kornacki, & G. Massey (Eds.), Contextuality in Translation and Interpreting: Selected Papers from the Łódź-ZHAW Duo Colloquium on Translation and Meaning 2020–2021. Peter Lang International Academic Publishers