Translating traces: Deconstruction and the practice of translation

  • Kruger J
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In this article I attempt to show that deconstruction and its practices should not be read as intimations towards plurality or relativism in translation, but should rather be utilised as a powerful analytical tool, a way of reading and writing with heightened awareness. In order to arrive at this conclusion, I discuss différance and the play of the trace in the context of the cont(r)act between two texts that are in a relationship of translation. I further argue that plurality as contained in Derrida’s différance is not a directive, but that the translator has to be aware of the existence of plurality and to take into account that the reader also participates in and contributes to this plurality. The key to an application of Derrida’s theory is shown to be situated in the process rather than in the product of translation, and this process has to move beyond a hierarchical opposition of “original” and translation. I conclude that différance becomes not an obstacle or barrier to translation, but specifically that which, in making something untranslatable, creates the need for translation.




Kruger, J. L. (2004). Translating traces: Deconstruction and the practice of translation. Literator, 25(1).

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