As any student of semiotics knows, speaking in code is what we do — when we communicate. It’s normal. To speak directly is the exception rather than the rule. In the kind of work I’m involved in getting others to do what you think you want them to do is primarily an exercise in subtle influence, persuasion and suggestion, perhaps delivered as a “nudge” rather than an order. It’s the same in advertising. Only crude advertisers direct you to buy Weetabix — obviously, overtly, as a command.
What insights about the idea of ‘translation’ might be gleaned from thinking about it not only in performance, but itself as a kind of performance? Nicholas Arnold, following last week’s ‘Re-’ Interdisciplinary Network symposium on ‘Translation as Performance’, was prompted to reflect on the multicultural and multilingual shows and audiences that have characterized international theatre festivals since the 1960s – including his own productions.