To the Editors:
The members of the PEN Translation Committee and the American Literary Translators Association wish to express our great dismay at the recent dismissal of professors Gideon Toury and Miriam Schlesinger from the boards of the journals The Translator and Translation Studies Abstracts solely because they are Israeli.
The dismissal of these two Israeli scholars undermines and defeats the most basic aims of translation. Translators are dedicated to enhancing communication across linguistic, national, and cultural boundaries; we are builders of bridges, not barriers. Therefore we particularly deplore the fact that this ugly gesture has been made within the field of translation studies. This action betrays the very essence of translation, which exists to create dialogue and interchange. It is terribly disheartening to see a scholar of translation—Professor Mona Baker, owner of the two journals in question—deal our own field such a blow.
Rather than combating oppression, this action participates in it, for to punish people for their nationality in this way is an act of oppression.
We protest the deeply misguided and entirely undemocratic dismissal of these two scholars.
Chair, PEN Translation Committee
PEN American CenterNew York City
President, American Literary Translators Association
August 15, 2002