What is an author, indeed: Michel Foucault in translation
(2016) Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 24 (1), pp. 76-92.
Though the issue of translation occasionally surfaces in Foucault Studies, it remains an area that deserves more attention. To that effect, I briefly introduce some basic concepts of Translation Studies and then compare a chapter from Surveiller et punir (‘Les moyens du bon dressement’) with its English, Spanish, and Norwegian translations. Moving beyond the blatant errors, I argue that these translations are not generally ‘the same text in a different language’. Rather, concepts are carved up in translation; or the analysis shifts from the structural to the historical; or syntactic adjustments make Foucault sound like an instruction book writer. Although I have deep respect for the work of the translators, who have brought Foucault to multitudes of new readers, I also argue that Foucault interpretation could…
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