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date: 20 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Translation is never completely neutral. On the contrary, it can be used in a double ideological-social sense: to orient people toward unaware, passive acceptance of a given situation or, instead, to evidence the possibility of change. On this account, most interesting are observations made by Marcuse. He analyzes a study conducted on work conditions in a firm in the United States, evidencing how complaints originally formulated by workers as general statements about a common condition lose their “generality” when “translated”: The actual meaning of their statements changes in the “translation.” The tones of protest in accusations denouncing bad work conditions for all are reduced to the status of isolated complaints concerning the life of single individuals. Similar situations abound in social practice and translation today, in the global “communication-production” order where language usage anaesthetizes critical awareness and the common sense of responsibility. This chapter investigates the relationship between words and values, the ideological dimension of sense, and translation, whether intralingual, interlingual, or intersemiotic, either to favor passive compliance to the order of discourse, the condition of “linguistic alienation,” or to develop the capacity for interrogation and conscious awareness in a world, today’s, that, like Orwell’s, resorts to a sort of Newspeak to obtain consensus and assent to the order of discourse, the official order.

Keywords: communication-production, ideological materiality, linguistic alienation, otherness, utterance

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