Translating The Funambulist: A Commitment


Lire le texte en français ici.

We are an anglophone publication based in Paris. This is not an innocent fact. Over the past eight years of the magazine’s existence, we have heard from many people that they’d love to read the magazine but that they were not proficient enough in English to do so. This desire for translation often came from people who grew up in social environments where English classes, although compulsory, may not have been of the best quality, and travels to anglophone countries have never been an option. This is why having the magazine published both in English and in French has always been in a corner of our minds, hoping to make an impact in francophone political imaginaries the way we’ve been attempting to make in anglophone ones. Yet the ways to make such a version economically viable have always seemed unattainable. 

The “solution” that we are proposing today came almost as an epiphany nine months ago and, since then, we’ve been working hard on materializing this project. The idea was not so much to insure the existence of a French translation but, rather, to build an economic and logistic infrastructure that would allow us to publish the magazine in multiple languages. We begin with French as it makes sense for us, but this is meant to only be the beginning and, if everything works well, other languages should follow. 

We are aware, of course, that the languages we have in mind (French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, Hindi…one can dream!) are all imperial ones. This plurilingual effort is therefore far from being what others may call “a decolonial gesture.” Rather, it accepts this imperfection and internal contradictions in order to speak to a greater number of people around the world, in the tradition of internationalism. These contradictions are only tenable if such a work is done in solidarity with initiatives aiming at writing in and translating into languages that are overshadowed (if not erased) by these imperial tongues. 

Translation is also something in which we have always had a strong interest. As regular readers of the magazine know, we are routinely commissioning texts in French, Spanish, or Portuguese, (and at least once from Arabic or Hindi) and then translating them into English. This new project will allow us to ask even more questions about the way ideas circulate in the world and emerge in other languages with their own specificities. In this regard, we are very excited to work and have these conversations with our translating team composed of Caroline Honorien (also member of The Funambulist’s advisory board), Virginie Bobin, and Rosanna Puyol who will together take care of translating articles from English into French every other month. But what this plurilingual infrastructure will also allow us to do, importantly, is to commission more texts in French and any other languages that will follow into English. 

Today is, therefore, a historic day for us as we announce this very ambitious new project. We hope that you are as excited as we are (yes, even you who only read English!) and that you also think of this significant investment of time and energy as consistent with our internationalist framework.

Here’s the link to subscribe to the French version.