Interview with Naoki Sakai

Siri Nergaard met Naoki Sakai at the NSTS – Nida School on Translation Studies – in Misano Adriatico, Italy in May 2012, where he presented the paper “Translation and Bordering: Heterolingual Address and Transnationality”.

Siri Nergaard met Naoki Sakai in May 2012 at the NSTS - Nida School of Translation Studies - in Misano Adriatico, Italy,  where he presented the paper "Translation and Bordering: Heterolingual Address and Transnationality".

During the conversation Sakai tells about his “living a life in translation” and how he sees the experience of not understanding, and the consequent need for translation, as the essential state of social relation. Through concepts like heterolingual address, border, translation as a form of philosophy, translation as an ideological naturalisation of national languages, Sakai presents stimulating thoughts to a new way of thinking translation.

Sakai’s Nida paper will be published in a future issue of this journal.

Translation as an answer to the fundamental human experience of being at loss.

Power in translation, translation as power.

Works mentioned during the interview:

Naoki Sakai. 1997. Translation and Subjectivity. On “Japan” and Cultural Nationalism. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press. (Public Worlds, volume 3).

Naoki Sakai and Yukiko Hanawa (eds.). 1. 2001. Traces: A Multilingual Journal of Cultural Theory and Translation.

Naoki Sakai and Jon Solomon (eds.). 4. 2006. Traces: A Multilingual Series of Cultural Theory and Translation.

Naoki Sakai teaches in the departments of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies and is a member of the graduate field of History at Cornell University. He has published in a number of languages in the fields of comparative literature, intellectual history, translation studies, the studies of racism and nationalism, and the histories of semiotic and literary multitude - speech, writing, corporeal expressions, calligraphic regimes, and phonographic traditions. His publications include:  Translation and Subjectivity (in English, Japanese, Korean, German forthcoming); Voices of the Past (in English, Japanese & Korean); Japan/Image/the United States: The Community of Sympathy and Imperial Nationalisms (in Japanese and Korean); The Stillbirth of the Japanese as a Language and as an Ethnos (Japanese and Korean); Hope and the Constitution ( in Japanese; Korean forthcoming). He edited a number of volumes including: Trans-Pacific Imagination (with Hyon Joo Yoo), Singapore & London, World Scientific Publishing Company, 2012; Translation, Biopolitics, Colonial Difference (with Jon Solomon) Vol. 4, Traces: A Multilingual Series of Cultural Theory and Translation. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2006; Specters of the West and the Politics of Translation (with Yukiko Hanawa) Vol. 1, Traces: A Multilingual Series of Cultural Theory and Translation. Ithaca: Traces, Inc., 2001. He has led the project of TRACES, a multilingual series in four languages – Spanish, Korean, Chinese, English, and Japanese (German will be added in 2013) - whose editorial office is located at Cornell, and served as its founding senior editor (1996 - 2004). In addition to TRACES, Naoki Sakai serves as a member of the following editorial boards, positions - asia cultures critique (in the United States), Post-colonial studies (in Britain), Tamkang Review (in Taiwan), International Dictionary of Intellectual History (the United States and Germany), Modern Japanese Cultural History (Japan), ASPECTS (South Korea) and Multitudes (in France).

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