Eva Spišiaková

The Able(bodied) Babel: Translating Stories of Disability

In recent years, disability became a pivotal transformative category for critical thinking about literature and languages. However, despite the robust body of research in Translation Studies that explores the field from feminist, queer and postcolonial perspectives, the question of how translation intersects with disability as a social category remains unanswered. As a result, Translation Studies scholars cannot generate advice for translators on how to avoid the perpetuation of ableist narratives, while the field of Disability Studies is unable to follow the different pathways in which discourses about disability circulate around our increasingly globalised world. My project The Able(bodied) Babel: Translating Stories of Disability remedies this gap through research that will enrich and connect two emerging academic areas of Translation and Disability studies through a better understanding of how stories and the language of disabilities cross linguistic borders.

Over the three years of the Fellowship, I will publish a journal article based on a pilot study focusing on the translation in paratextual material and a monograph that will explore how narratives about disabled characters in works from Western literary canon change when they cross linguistic borders. The project will also generate the first academic conference on Translation and Disability, which will be organised at the University of Vienna in 2022. The project will foster discussion about the importance of informed translation choices devoid of ableism and social stigma, bring attention to the linguistic challenges associated with disabilities that are present in our globally interconnected societies, and ultimately, make a positive contribution to the fight against the marginalisation of people with disabilities.