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Ellen Jones

Mar 29, 2022

Literature in Motion

Translating Multilingualism Across the Americas

Columbia University Press 2022

In Literature in Motion: Translating Multilingualism Across the Americas (Columbia University Press, 2022), Ellen C. Jones centers not just translation but multilingualism as both an artistic practice and scholarly lens through which to examine the production and reception of literature across the Americas. Focusing on writers who use mixed language forms such as “Spanglish,” “Portunhol,” and “Frenglish,” she shows how these authors and their translators use multilingualism to disrupt binaries and hierarchies in language, gender, and literary production itself.  

In this episode of NBN, Ellen Jones discusses the complex relationship and perceived tensions between translation and multilingualism, the sociopolitical forces that have shaped the status of multilingualism within the United States, her experience translating Susana Chávez-Silverman’s multilingual writing, multilingualism as queer practice in Giannina Braschi’s Yo-Yo Boing! and Tess O’Dwyer’s English-only translation of Yo-Yo Boing!, indigenous multilingualism in Wilson Bueno’s Mar Paraguayo and its public life as an art exhibition by Andrew Forster in collaboration with translator Erín Moure, the collaborative joy of editing special issues on multilingualism for the literary journal Asymptote, and more. Tune in to learn about all this and more!

Ellen C. Jones is a literary translator, writer, and editor based in Mexico City.

Jennifer Gayoung Lee is a writer and data analyst based in New York City.

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