Translation’s Histories and Digital Futures

Littau, Karin (2016) ‘Translation’s Histories and Digital Futures’, International Journal of Communication 20



Drawing on Latour’s actor-network-theory and De Landa’s robot historian, this essay asks in what ways translation’s past is a prehistory of the present and to what extent nonhuman agents have shaped and are shaping translation. In particular, it examines the impact of computational media on translation and finds that the difference made by the computer as a convergence medium is that, for the first time in history, one medium has become capable of presenting in its entirety the media history of translation. To grasp the changes that translation is undergoing in the 21st century therefore requires a comparative understanding of its relations to the mediascapes of the past, present, and future.