Translator as Interpreter: Flipping of Geopolitical Power Relations in Homebody/Kabul

  • Jessica Ng


Translation and interpretation has become an increasingly important part of western society result of its growing trend of globalization and its geopolitical interests on the international stage. The roles of the translator and of the interpreter have often been thought of by the public as almost one in the same despite them being two different professions with somewhat different skill sets. Translators, “change written text into another language in written form or, may read the text and translate it into another language orally” (Jones and Boyle, 110). Interpreters, on the other hand, “listen to a spoken language and change it into spoke form of another language” (110). Although there does not seem to be a vast difference between the two roles, the task of the translators is often seen as one that is more limiting than that of an interpreter as the translator has an original written source text that the translator has to be answerable to. Despite this notable difference between translators and interpreters, these two roles have been synthesis by the public into on general role. This synthesis of translator- interpreter thus, becomes an increasingly popular literary motif used in literary works such as Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul. This paper will be examining Kushner’s usage of the translator-interpreter role as a thematic tool to highlight the construction and eventual deconstruction of the traditionally accepted power relations between East and West.