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The perpetrator's "testimony:" Trauma, voice, translation

(2018)
Author
Organization
Abstract
In my talk I will discuss the ethical and linguistic difficulties that arise from reading, editing and translating the perpetrator’s account on mass violence. In particular, I will look into the memoirs of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess and the interviews Jean Hatzfeld, a French reporter, conducted with Rwandan génocidaires. The story of the perpetrator is in all respects an “extreme” form of testimony – if we can even use this term to describe reports that do not express any sense of disruption and seem almost devoid of genuine emotions. The fact that these stories are not grafted on traumatic memory, as opposed to survivor testimonies, has consequences on the language use (detailed and clinical according to Hoess’ editors) and tone of voice (monotonous according to Hatzfeld). I will argue that the text becomes an important testimony to the killer’s personality if we pay attention not to what he says, but the way he says it – and also to what he does not say: the words he does not use, the thoughts he does not articulate, the emotions he does not express. This constitutes a particular challenge for all agents involved in the process of entextualisation and translation.
Keywords
perpetrator, testimony, translation, Rwanda, Holocaust, emotions

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Spiessens, Anneleen. 2018. “The Perpetrator’s ‘Testimony:’ Trauma, Voice, Translation.” In .
APA
Spiessens, A. (2018). The perpetrator’s “testimony:” Trauma, voice, translation. Presented at the Whose voice is it anyway? Reflecting on emotions in a translation and interpreting context.
Vancouver
1.
Spiessens A. The perpetrator’s “testimony:” Trauma, voice, translation. 2018.
MLA
Spiessens, Anneleen. “The Perpetrator’s ‘Testimony:’ Trauma, Voice, Translation.” 2018. Print.
@inproceedings{8563107,
  abstract     = {In my talk I will discuss the ethical and linguistic difficulties that arise from reading, editing and translating the perpetrator’s account on mass violence. In particular, I will look into the memoirs of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess and the interviews Jean Hatzfeld, a French reporter, conducted with Rwandan génocidaires. The story of the perpetrator is in all respects an “extreme” form of testimony – if we can even use this term to describe reports that do not express any sense of disruption and seem almost devoid of genuine emotions. The fact that these stories are not grafted on traumatic memory, as opposed to survivor testimonies, has consequences on the language use (detailed and clinical according to Hoess’ editors) and tone of voice (monotonous according to Hatzfeld). I will argue that the text becomes an important testimony to the killer’s personality if we pay attention not to what he says, but the way he says it – and also to what he does not say: the words he does not use, the thoughts he does not articulate, the emotions he does not express. This constitutes a particular challenge for all agents involved in the process of entextualisation and translation.},
  author       = {Spiessens, Anneleen},
  keywords     = {perpetrator,testimony,translation,Rwanda,Holocaust,emotions},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {University of Edinburgh },
  title        = {The perpetrator's "testimony:" Trauma, voice, translation},
  year         = {2018},
}