This article summarizes a broader project on “just translation” that attempts to rethink translation in the framework of Western philosophies of right, Sittlichkeit (ethical norms, customs, practices), and theories of justice (Plato, Hegel, Rawls), as well as of recent work on “postcolonial justice” that negotiates the collision between the drive toward universality and the normative, on the one hand, and the drive toward difference, on the other. Devising a critical approach that “does justice” to the nuances of words associated with adjudication in all the world's languages is the larger aspiration. But given practical limitations, this means scaling down to select terms and cases that signal translational injustice under conditions of violence and legal disputation. These conditions include gender violence and sexual safety across languages, the untranslatability of terms like refugee and migrant, the fraught vocabulary of settlement and unsettlement (involving the translation of terms like indigeneity, occupation, detention zone, and camp), shibboleth tests and the foreclosure of the right to residency (which amounts to the passporting of speech), and the multilingual scripts of biopolitical surveillance and patrol relied on in forcible-entry raids, stop and frisk, and executions of orders to “report and deport.”

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