L'après-midi d'un phonème, or la faune of après-afternoon
As my writing takes me into explorations of mixed language, I become convinced that the idea of translation in a global world must aspire to what Brian Lennon has called “strong plurilingualism” – even toward what he calls “untranslatability […] in the metastic and liminal sense.” Plurilingual works, Lennon argues, resist globalization by figuring “flows, simultaneities, networks, deterritorialization, annihilations of the space and time of representation” that become modes of “incommensurable difference of languages, cultures, and forms of knowledge.” In short, they embody the long realized paradoxes and secret soul of literary translations.
Ubiquitous interfaces and modalities like Facebook and the iPhone/Pad increasingly take on aspects of a materialized lingua franca mimicking plurilingualism. Against their colonizing heterogeneity, established questions regarding archiving born-digital works assume new importance to translators of E-Literature. The preservation of what Kirschenbaum calls “complete environments” limns what Lennon describes as the “structural border marking a space where plurilingual experience, including plurilingual writing, meets (or more often fails to meet) material … publication.” One can question whether successive versions of E-lit meet or fail to meet this test, that is if they are indeed translations or rather merely the particular kind of localization involving porting adaptations to new platforms and devices.