Introduction: The Aporia of Translation
The introduction sets forth the relationship between language and historical imagination in the making of the Philippine nation-state and the U.S. Empire from the perspective of translation. Conceived as a practical act that entails an ethical stance, translation is as much about speech and writing as it is about their worldly effects, as much about the inter- and intralingual transfer of meaning and intention as their suspension and subversion, and as much about the mobilization of interpretation and interpreters as their scattering and confusion. The introduction organizes these broad themes by situating them in relation to Emile Benveniste’s description of personal pronouns, Roman Jakobson’s argument about the linguistic aspects of translation, and the classical idea of translation as aporetic movement. Each suggests ways to think about translation as the ongoing and essential supplement to all sorts of exchange and expression and foreground the question of untranslatability, that is, the persistence of an insurgent element within language that resists its reduction into instruments for systems of meaning, ideologies, and warfare.