Jonathan Guyer has contributed a chapter to Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution, a forthcoming book from Routledge. His chapter focuses on the translation of Arabic political cartoons. Here is Jonathan’s abstract:
This chapter reflects critically on the translation of Arabic political cartoons, both in broad and narrow terms. The questions I address include the following: How does one translate humour and satire? How does one convey symbols that are rooted in local contexts (and thus illegible to outside audiences)? How does one communicate the immediacy of a political cartoon’s punch line without diminishing from its semantic meaning? The word karikatur, which can be defined as either ‘political cartoon’ or ‘caricature’, is used to frame my interrogation of the multiple meanings of each illustration. Interpreting ‘translation’ broadly, I examine the utility of cartoons as a mechanism for communicating Egyptian politics to an international readership. In terms of interlingual translation issues, I explore political cartoons as self-contained mini texts packed with homegrown symbols as well as cultural creations that engage with music, film and other pop culture genres.
Translating Dissent features writing by many other scholars, activists and artists focused on the Egyptian experience since 2011. It is now available for preorder.