The Balkans in Translation Cover Image

Balkan u Prevodu
The Balkans in Translation

Author(s): Tomislav Z. Longinović
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: J.U. Javna biblioteka »Alija Isaković«, Gradačac
Keywords: Translation; translation; Balkans; identity; globalization; neocolonial projects; colonizing identity; military linguist; nationalisam; islam; Former Yugoslavia; Kosovo; United States; cultural assimilation; nationalist ideology; human rights

Summary/Abstract: Tomislav Longinovic extends the concept of translation of texts to the translation of political contexts: The politics and history of the Balkans, he argues, represent the "untranslatable" and "foreign" that can not be compared under any circumstances to the politics of the "western world". And yet, as Longinovic argues, similarities between American and Serbian behaviour against the perceived Islamic threat after September 11 and during the Kosovo war respectively, exist. These unacknowledged and "untranslated" similarities between politically unequal partners demonstrate the need for the translation of cultures and political contexts that open up spaces between cultures whilst keeping in mind the alterity of the foreign in translation. This pain and anxiety over the constant failure of translation between the Balkans and a utopian vision of Europe originates in the desire for the plenitude of cultural coupling, the unreachable full integration of a multitude of "Europes". Various theories of untranslatability exist between these two horizons; one is based on the imaginary core identity proper to the discourse of nationalism, and the other centers around an ever shifting western border encoded in the horizon of a fully integrated Europe. The imaginary core identities project a vision of culture which resists forms of translation imposed from the outside to protect the local and the native from intrusion by various secretive manoeuvres. These symptomatic postures erect and internalize the boundaries by performing a desperate form of political nationalism of invisibility and further implosion. Yet the thirst for knowledge about the Balkans does not need to end in the discovery of equivalencies which are disguised by local cultures through the performance of secret rites around the imaginary identity cores. These multiple forms of identity-in-difference produced by the bridging act of translation will continue to challenge the imaginary core of a particular linguistic, artistic, cultural, and ultimately national form of belonging found in translation between the Balkans and its European extensions. This text is an extended and revised edition of a talk held at the 16th Meeting of Cultural Journals in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro entitled Europe and the Balkans: Politics of Translation 24-27 October 2003.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 13-14
  • Page Range: 58-68
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Bosnian