Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution

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Published 2016, by Routledge

Discursive interventions in the political arena are heavily mediated by various acts of translation that enable protest movements to connect across the globe. Focusing on the Egyptian experience since 2011, this volume brings together a unique group of activists who are able to reflect on the complexities, challenges and limitations of one or more forms of translation and its impact on their ability to interact with a variety of domestic and global audiences.

Drawing on a wide range of genres and modalities, from documentary film and subtitling to oral narratives, web comics and street art, the eighteen essays reveal the dynamics and complexities of translation in protest movements across the world. Each unique contribution demonstrates some aspect of the interdependence of these movements and their inevitable reliance on translation to create networks of solidarity. Framed by a substantial introduction by Mona Baker, the volume also includes an interview with Egyptian activist and filmmaker Philip Rizk.

With contributions by both scholars and artists, professionals and activists directly involved in the Egyptian revolution and other movements, Translating Dissent will be of interest to students of translation, intercultural studies and sociology as well as the reader interested in the study of social and political movements. Additional online materials, including links to relevant websites and videos, are available at

Note: All royalties from the sale of this volume are donated to Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, founded in 1999 by the late Ahmed Seif El-Islam and other human rights activists to defend victims of torture and arbitrary detention in Egypt.


Mona Baker is Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Manchester.  She is author of In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation (Routledge, 1992, second edition 2011) and Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account (Routledge, 2006), and editor or co-editor of several reference works, including the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (1998/2009); the four-volume Critical Concepts: Translation Studies (Routledge, 2009); and Critical Readings in Translation Studies (Routledge, 2009). Her articles have appeared in a wide range of international journals, including Social Movement Studies and Critical Studies on Terrorism. She is founding Editor of The Translator (1995-2013), founding Vice-President of the International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies, and co-editor (with Luis Pérez-González and Bolette Blaagaard) of the Rutledge series Critical Perspectives on Citizen Media.



Dedication: To Radwa Ashour



Beyond the Spectacle: Translation and Solidarity in Contemporary Protest Movements
Mona Baker

Narrating Revolution, Historicizing Revolutions

A Wish Not to Betray: Some Thoughts on Writing and Translating Revolution
Wiam El-Tamami

Changing Frames and Fault-lines
Khalid Abdalla 

Translation and Diaspara Politics: Narrating the Struggle at ‘Home’ and ‘Abroad’
Helen Underhill

The Contemporary Epoch of Struggle: Anti-austerity Protests, the Arab Uprisings and Occupy Wall Street
Todd Wolfson and Peter Funke

Translation as Political Intervention

Text and Context: Translating in a State of Emergency
Samah Selim 

Ethical Reflections on Activist Film Making and Activist Subtitling
Salma El-Tarzi

What Word Is This Place? Translating Urban Social Justice and Governance
Sherief Gaber

Translation and the New Poetics of Egypt’s Revolution
Tahia Abdel Nasser

Challenging Patriarchy

Translation and Solidarity in Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution
Leil-Zahra Mortada 

On Translating a Superhero: Language and Webcomics
Deena Mohamed

An Archive of Hope: Translating Memories of Revolution
Hoda Elsadda

Translation and the Visual Economy of Protest

Translating Emotions: Graffiti as a Tool for Change
Bahia Shehab

Democratic Walls: Street Art as Public Pedagogy
John Johnston

Pharaonic Street Art: The Challenge of Translation
Soraya Morayef

Translating Egypt’s Political Cartoons
Jonathan Guyer

Solidarity, Translation and the Politics of the Margin
Interview with Philip Rizk


Moments of Clarity
Omar Robert Hamilton