The Challenges of Communication across Worlds

This presentation will explore the challenges inherent in trying to sustain bridges of communication between Indigenous and Euro-based worlds. The exploration will center on those attempts made via the medium of the translation project, a type of project the presenter has often undertaken. The presenter will rely on a particular type of project, that of translating highly abstract pieces such as a critique of art into Nishnaabemwin, to illustrate the challenges. She will also make brief reference to examples from the worlds of science and politics. The challenges that attend the translation endeavour extend beyond simply needing to find ways of expressing foreign concepts in a very distinct linguistic structural framework. The deeper issue of what makes a concept “foreign” is equally important to appreciate and thus will be among the major questions considered.