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National Identity in Translation


Edited By Lucyna Harmon and Dorota Osuchowska

Language as an essential and constitutive part of national identity is what obviously gets lost in translation, being substituted by the language of another nation. For this reason, one could perceive national identity and translation as contradictory and proclaim a total untranslatability of the former. However, such a simplified conclusion would clearly deny the actual translation practice, where countless successful attempts to preserve the element of national identity can be testified. The authors of the book focus on the possibilities of various approaches to national identity as a research subject within Translation Studies. The authors hope that the variety of topics presented in this book will inspire further research.

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National identity is one of the phenomena which we believe to understand well as long as we are not asked to explain them. It is mostly related to an individual and his or her country but even so, the latter entails other definition problems. It is not clear, for example, if it is the country of origin, residency or maybe citizenship that should be deemed ones own. Besides, none of them sound convincing in isolation, especially as none sounds unambiguous either. With regards to the origin, it is questionable if this term covers the individual’s own place of birth or that of their ascendants, who in this case would need a further definition (both parents? one parent? grandparents or just one of them?). It remains obscure how long one should live in an area to be recognized as its national. As far as the residency is concerned, it is not apparent whether national identity should be defined by one’s chosen or maybe imposed living place. It seems disputable if a person’s chosen, long-term place of residency determines their national identity. It is not obvious that a long-lasting imposed living place does not shape one’s national identity. Also citizenship appears controversial in relation to national identity. On the one hand, many people hold multiple citizenships or give up their original one in order to obtain another, which most democratic countries allow under specified circumstances. On the other hand, a vast majority of the world’s population are citizens of only...

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