The connection between travel and translation is often evoked in contemporary critical theory, both practices seen as metaphors of mobility and flux linked to globalized 'post-modern' society. Travel is a multiple activity, encompassing temporary and voluntary displacement, repeated movement, exile, economic migration, diaspora. Places of origin are often plural and unstable, in spite of the enduring appeal of traditional labels such as 'mother country' or 'patrie'.
The multiple interfaces between translation, travel and migration are the focus of all contributions in this special issue. Starting from different points of view, and using a variety of methodologies, the authors raise fundamental questions about the way in which we perceive the link between language, national or ethnic identity, and individual voice. Topics range from the interaction between travel, travel narratives and translation in early English representations of China, to the special role played by interpreters in mediating the first contact between a literate and a non-literate culture; from the multiple functions and audiences addressed by contemporary Romani literature and its translation, to the political as well a cultural implications of translating popular music across the Bosporus. A number of the articles focus on detailed textual analysis, covering the intersection between exile, self-translation and translingualism in the work of Manuel Puig; the uses and limitations of translation in the works of migrant authors; or the impact on figurations of Europe of experimental work embracing polylingualism. Collectively, these contributions also underline the importance of a closer examination of our assumptions about who the translators and the interpreters are, and what roles they play in our society.