Translating for academic ends

reflections on visibility, accessibility, and canonicity

Sarah Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present article investigates translations conducted for academic ends such as for use in a dissertation or for inclusion in a scholarly publication. These translations are therefore situated amongst academic writing and presented in works bearing different titles and different names. By drawing upon translation and literary theory as well as personal practice, this article reflects on the visibility, accessibility, and canonicity of these translations that circulate beyond their genre of origin. The first section focuses on the invisible presence of these translations and argues that this situation is not the result of translation strategies, as Lawrence Venuti’s theory suggests, but is more to do with the translations’ function and subsequent location. The second section of this study examines the role of academics in determining the canonical status of literature through the work of Roland Barthes, Lydie Moudileno, and David Damrosch. It demonstrates that the circulation and status of translations done for academic ends largely depend on the engagement of the translators themselves as well as their peers. The article concludes by suggesting that increased visibility and circulation can be achieved by engaging with translations of different canonical status in mutually beneficial ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-291
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of French Studies
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • translation
  • visibility
  • academia

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