Translation as an Instrument for Multilingual Democracy


  • Anthony Pym Rovira i Virgili University


translation, interpretation, democracy, language policy, Habermas, communitarianism


Translation Studies, in its foundational terms, must assume multilingualism but has also long presupposed monoglots: whenever our models separate “source language” from “target language,” we present translations as border-markers between monolingual spaces. One way forward is to find translation in all communication, within all linguistic spaces, to an extent that would dissolve any pretense at monolingualism. An alternative solution, more tied to empirical historiography, is to trace the ways in which multilingual ideological formations use translation in order to divide linguistic spaces at the same time as they expand across those same spaces. Using numerous local examples, Pym’s article examines the use of translators and interpreters to bring about multilingual democracies and considers the ways in which current technologies and practices of translation are reshaping answers to the question.

Author Biography

Anthony Pym, Rovira i Virgili University

Pym is former President of the European Society for Translation Studies. He holds a Doctorate in Sociology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He has authored or edited some 25 books on translation.