What are words worth?
Dr Toto presented: ‘What Are Words Worth? Reflections on Queer Language, Censorship and Translation’ on 11 October 2017, in which he explored aspects of language policing, reclamation and identity positioning. The lecture was an open event also attended by UCL students.
“Communicative competence in translation has long been regarded as key to effective translator training to provide budding translators with a reference framework in which to develop their skills,” said Dr Toto.
“In particular, ‘translational knowledge structures,’ which means ‘knowledge about the world and about the subject matter,’ are deemed essential for performing translation tasks. This is particularly true for the translation and interpretation of queer language, and its performative function, where meanings and their significance may sometimes require further ‘unpacking’ due to their non-normative nature and implications for gender and sexual identity expression.”
During his talk, he presented clips and excerpts from RuPaul's Drag Race, the Italian version of Will & Grace, and Facebook to open up a debate on the adequacy and inadequacy of translators’ knowledge structures in the context of the current mainstreaming of queer culture as well as on the current policing of language on social media. He also showed how ‘queering’ texts and their subtexts is essential to preserve their performative nature.