Consecration and accumulation of literary capital: translation as unequal exchange – my abstract

Casanova, P. (2010). Consecration and accumulation of literary capital: translation as unequal exchange. Critical readings in translation studies285, 303.

This paper proposes the use of criteria in the study of the literary universe that replaces the binary ‘center/periphery’ by the ‘dominant/dominating’ opposition, which implies a structure of domination and power struggles. The paper argues that each language has a linguistic–literary capital attached to it which is relatively independent of linguistic capital. This capital depends on prestige, on the literary beliefs attached to a language, and on the literary value attributed to it. This structural inequality prevents assigning translation a single significance. The paper proposes to enlarge the notion of translation to include, for example, ‘translation as accumulation’ when, through a collective strategy, the dominated national literary fields attempt to import literary capital; or ‘translation as consecration’ when the dominating consecrators import a text from a dominated literary field. The paper concludes by discussing the roles of Translators-mediators. It views them as special experts whose task is to select texts and thus giving it a value. However, the domination they exercise requires that they ‘discover’ writers who are not native but who conform to their literary categories, therefore, translation is also annexation and a kind of universalization through the denial of difference where works are hijacked for the benefit of the central resources.

Keywords: floral figurations, translation as accumulation, translation as consecration, linguistic capital, literary capital, dominating languages, dominated languages


Cronin, M. (1998). The cracked looking glass of servants: Translation and minority languages in a global age – My abstract

Cronin, M. (1998). The cracked looking glass of servants: Translation and minority languages in a global age. The Translator4(2), 145-162.


Using the themes of transparency and reflection, this article draws attention to connections between translation studies and minority languages in today’s world. It argues that minority languages could overtime become mirror images of the dominant language at the lexical and syntactic levels. It states that translation is never a benign process and it is misleading to present it as such. The author distinguishes between two types of translations; translation-as-assimilation where language speakers can be assimilated to a dominant language and translation-as-diversification where language speakers can resist incorporation and choose to develop and retain their language. He argues that due to the prevalence of English as a global language, most other languages have been minoritized leading to a reflective rather than reflexive approach to translation. The paper concludes that due to the continuous power shifting relationships among languages, minority languages would finally have a significant role to play in the discipline of translation studies.


Keywords: minority languages, dominant language, translation-as-assimilation, translation-as-diversification, translation studies