Introduction: Self-Translating, from Minorisation to Empowerment

  • Olga Castro
  • Sergi Mainer
  • Svetlana Page
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)


This introductory chapter discusses the implications of self-translation in multilingual contexts in Europe, aiming at mapping out innovative perspectives to the study of power and, by so doing, empowering self-translation. We start by critically engaging with the ‘cultural’ and ‘power turns’ in translation studies, as a way of delineating what the particularities of self-translation are when practised by author-translators in multilingual spaces. Focusing on the European milieu, defined broadly in terms of its geographies, we then discuss multilingualism, cultural awareness and ethnic diversity as staple terms in both academic and political ideologies across Europe, emphasising that one of the aspects of multilingualism is precisely the power differentials between languages and cultures. We explore these unequal power relations and centre–periphery dichotomies of Europe’s ‘minorised’ languages, literatures and cultures, suggesting the usage of ‘minorised’ in preference to the others discussed, inasmuch as it highlights both hegemonic power hierarchies and also the continual resistance to them. This is followed by a brief overview of the emerging debates in the subdiscipline of self-translation in recent times. It is within them that we situate our contribution, arguing that the self-translators’ double affiliation as authors and translators turns them into powerful cultural and ideological mediators and places them in a privileged position to challenge (or submit to) power. Here another term, ‘self-censorship,’ is suggested as invaluable to self-translation studies where self-editing often occurs before translation is begun. Finally, the introduction presents the organisation of the book and the main ideas discussed by the 11 authors in their individual chapters.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga Castro
    • 1
  • Sergi Mainer
    • 2
  • Svetlana Page
    • 3
  1. 1.Aston UniversityBirminghamUK
  2. 2.University of EdinburghScotlandUK
  3. 3.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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