(con Antonio Aguilera) Benjamin y la traducción

Barcelona: Ediciones del Subsuelo, 2024.

Hace ya cien años de la publicación original del ensayo de Walter Benjamin ‘La tarea del traductor’, considerado el texto central del siglo XX sobre la traducción. Benjamin mantuvo un interés relevante en la traducción durante toda su vida, aunque con importantes transformaciones que tuvieron que ver con su desarrollo filosófico. 

Benjamin y la traducción contiene nuevas versiones de los tres textos que Benjamin escribió sobre la traducción en distintos momentos de su trayectoria, así como las interpretaciones críticas de los autores de este libro, en las que se analizan estos textos en relación con otros aspectos clave de su obra y se hace una propuesta de actualización. El libro también elabora perspectivas más amplias sobre el presente que ponen en el centro la traducción, una actividad social ubicua que muchos filósofos y sociólogos menosprecian u olvidan pero en la que, como Benjamin sabía muy bien, quizás pueda encontrarse la clave de nuestra supervivencia.

A Translational Sociology: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Politics and Society

London and New York: Routledge, 2023.

A Translational Sociology provides an interdisciplinary investigation of the key role of translation in society. In order to challenge a reductive view of translation as a relatively straightforward process of word substitution that is still prevalent in the social sciences, this book proposes and develops a broader definition of translation as a social relation across linguistic difference, a process of transformation that leaves neither its agent nor its object unchanged. The book offers elaborations of the social, cultural and political implications of such an approach, as a broad focus on these various perspectives and their interrelations is needed for a fuller understanding of translation’s significance in the contemporary world. This is key reading for advanced students and researchers of translation studies, social theory, cultural sociology and political sociology.

‘Sociologists! Read this book! It is a major contribution to sociological theorising, and rams home the point that you ignore translation matters at your peril. Translation Studies scholars! Read this book! Bielsa pushes the ‘sociological turn’ in Translation Studies further, deeper, and better than anyone else has yet managed. Everyone else! Read this book! It is a brilliantly incisive intervention into many of the pressing and inter-related cultural, linguistic, and political matters of our time.’ David Inglis, University of Helsinki

Cosmopolitanism and Translation: Investigations into the Experience of the Foreign 

London and New York: Routledge, 2016. 

Social theories of the new cosmopolitanism have called attention to the central importance of translation in areas such as global democracy, human rights and social movements, but the role of translation within cosmopolitanism has not been systematically examined. Cosmopolitanism and Translation provides theoretical and empirical perspectives on the translation of world literature, social theory and foreign news. It redefines social theories of the stranger in a cosmopolitan context and provides detailed case studies centred on Roberto Bolaño, Theodor Adorno and Tiziano Terzani and their work. The book places translation at the heart of cosmopolitan theory and makes an essential contribution for students and researchers of both translation studies and sociology.

‘If we live in a world where the contact points between different cultures are becoming more frequent and more intense, then the need for translation will only spread and sharpen. This book responds to this global challenge and offers a vital cultural and conceptual toolkit.’ Nikos Papastergiadis, University of Melbourne

Translation in Global News2

(with S. Bassnett) Translation in Global News

London and New York: Routledge, 2009. Translated into Chinese, Arabic and Korean.

Language and translation constitute a key infrastructure of global communication. This book offers interdisciplinary perspectives on globalization, translation and the media and investigates news agencies as vast translation agencies, designed to produce fast and reliable translations of great amounts of information. Incorporating the results of extensive fieldwork in major news organizations such as Reuters, Agence France Presse and Inter Press Service, Translation in Global News addresses the pressures facing translation as the need for a flow of accurate information which must transfer successfully across geographic, linguistic and cultural boundaries becomes increasingly more important. 

‘In our media-saturated and conflict-riven world I cannot think of a more urgent and timely book than Translation in Global News. Bassnett and Bielsa show how translation lies at the very heart of the circulation of news information in the modern world and how our right to know is crucially affected by our freedom to translate. The book is essential reading for students of globalization, media studies, sociology and translation studies and indeed for anyone who is concerned about the fate of knowledge and information in our globalized world.’ Michael Cronin, Dublin City University


The Latin American Urban Crónica: Between Literature and Mass Culture

Lanham: Lexington Books, 2006.

This book investigates the significance of the Latin American crónica as a hybrid genre of the contact zone between literature and mass culture. It offers a detailed investigation of the production and the reception of the crónica in two Latin American cities, Mexico City and Guayaquil (Ecuador), where its important role in describing and interpreting everyday life in the city, as well as various forms of urban culture, is explored. Essentially interdisciplinary in its approach, The Latin American Urban Crónica is one of the few publications about this fascinating and understudied mixed genre of the area between journalism and literature, and the first to systematically situate the Latin American crónica within social and cultural theory.

‘Esperança Bielsa’s study captures the richness of the literature of flanerie in contemporary Latin America through her original and imaginative exploration of the cronicas in the metropolitan contexts of Mexico City and Guayaguil. Drawing theoretical impulses from Benjamin, Bourdieu and others, her study illuminates for us a literature devoted to neglected aspects of reading, writing, and mapping the city in ‘journalistic’ forms that defy the distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Should be essential reading for all who are interested in the literature of urban modernity.’ David Frisby, London School of Economics

Edited books

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Media 

London and New York: Routledge, 2022.

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Media provides the first comprehensive account of the role of translation in the media, which has become a thriving area of research in recent decades. It offers theoretical and methodological perspectives on translation and media in the digital age, as well as analyses of a wide diversity of media contexts and translation forms. 

Divided into four parts with an editor introduction, the 33 chapters are written by leading international experts and provide a critical survey of each area with suggestions for further reading. The handbook aims to showcase innovative approaches and developments, bridging the gap between currently separate disciplinary subfields and pointing to potential synergies and broad research topics and issues.

‘Esperança Bielsa has assembled an excellent and timely collection of essays that explore and illuminate how our media environment is changing from print to digital and how global flows of media are increasing exponentially, demonstrating that it’s more important than ever to reconsider the complex relationships between translation and media.’ Jonathan Evans, University of Glasgow

(with D. Kapsaskis, eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Globalization 

London and New York: Routledge, 2021.

This Handbook investigates the many ways in which translation both enables globalization and is inevitably transformed by it. It is the first publication to provide a comprehensive coverage of the main approaches that theorize translation and globalization. With five sections covering Key Concepts, People, Culture, Economics and Politics, its chapters cover major areas of current interdisciplinary interest, including climate change, migration, borders, democracy and human rights, as well as key topics in the discipline of translation studies. The Handbook highlights the significance of translation in the most pressing social, economic and political issues of our time, while accounting for the new technologies and practices that are currently deployed to cope with growing translation demands.

‘The essays in this collection represent an array of approaches to decolonizing translation, drawing on a wide range of theories such as postnationalism, ecology, histories of migration, border violence, language rights and social justice, and much more. An indispensable resource for those who want to get up to speed on a rapidly evolving field with significant impact on the humanities today.’ Emily Apter, New York University


(with C. Hughes, eds.) Globalization, Political Violence and Translation

Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

The key but often invisible role played by translation and translators of all kinds in mediating conflict has become the object of new critical attention in recent years. Written by leading scholars in disciplines ranging from law, philosophy, politics and sociology to media studies and translation studies, the essays gathered in Globalization, Political Violence and Translation point to new interdisciplinary directions for the study of the globalization of violence and the role of translation in this context and generate novel lines of debate for globalization research.