2012: Volume 5, Issue 1, pp. 39-52

From Transportation to Transformation: On the Use of the Metaphor of Translation within Media and Communication Theory

Rainer Guldin



This paper explores some of the common ground between media/communication and translation theory by focusing on the double metaphor of transportation/transformation. The first part of the paper deals with the more general theoretical implications of a possible interchange between communication and translation in view of the notion of spatiality and the paradigmatic change that has occurred in translation theory in the last few years moving from a transportation to a transformation oriented approach to the process of translation. The second part focuses on the work of a series of theorists who have made extensive use of the metaphor of translation to describe inter-mediatic and communicative processes: Marshall McLuhan, Vilém Flusser, Lev Manovich, and Michel Serres. This section shows that despite the use of a transformative definition of the functioning of translation the single authors have neglected to address the question of the actual nature of this transformative process. Finally, therefore, the paper discusses the relevance of the use of the metaphor of translation within communication and media theory in view of a closer definition of its transformative power.



Full Text: