“Death to the Translator!”: A case study on risk in translation

Adam Zulawnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Controversial, potentially dangerous issues are bound to arisein an increasingly globalisedworld. Translators, as always, will need to provide linguistic assistance to facilitate understanding for all concerned parties. In this paper, through the exploration of the Japanese mangacomic medium, I demonstrate an innovative translation methodology, which whilst serving as a pedagogical tool for gaining deeper insight into the difficult nature of the translation process, also provides potential risk management elements that can be employed when dealing with so-called controversial material, such as politically or historically debated texts. This paper explores issues surrounding the translation ofJapanese graphic novel Manga Kenkanryūwhich addresses key debated historical and political issues pertaining to Japan-Korea relations. In the past four decades, linguistic, ethical, and risk management issues have been raisedin the field of Translation Studies and Linguistics.Researchers such as Venuti and Tymoczko have placed particular focus on the power and visibility (or lack thereof) of the translator in the production of translations of controversial texts. However, risks associated with the translation of controversial texts have not been discussed in great detail, in spite of prominent examples such as mistranslation of political texts in the Middle-East and Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-23
Number of pages18
JournalThe AALITRA Review
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Risk Management
  • Translation
  • Korean History
  • Japanese Studies
  • Graphic novels
  • Multimodal
  • Ethics

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