Translation is Political for Faculty Member Madhu H. Kaza

June 5, 2018

Kitchen Table Translation book coverFaculty member Madhu H. Kaza was recently interviewed by The Rumpus about her anthology, Kitchen Table Translation, and how translation can be a political act.


The anthology, which was published in July 2017 by Aster(ix) Journal, where Kaza is senior editor, showcases voices from across the globe that are traditionally underrepresented. Kaza has written that translation is inherently tied to immigration, and she emphasized that in her interview with Raj Chakrapani.


"I think that for people who feel excluded from translation, disobedience opens up a way of thinking more politically about one’s right to translate from a marginalized position, and not simply from the legitimated positions of mastery," Kaza said.


She added that there is no single answer for what a work of translation should be faithful to, and that any translation choice involves some disobedience towards culture or context. 


"To do translation is to become intimate with being wrong," she said. "I don’t see that as a deterrent. The question is how do you want to be wrong? What do you want to be faithful to? The norms of Anglo-American translation culture?"


Kitchen Table Translation, Kaza said, is an extension of her work in the artist collective No. 1 Gold to build a creative forum for women of color.


"It's all work centered around literary advocacy, community building and creating more freedom for ourselves," she said. "It’s about being women of color who lay claim to everything, not just the little corners of identity that are allocated to us by cultural institutions."