Translating neighbours: history, communication and translation in the Australian-Indonesian relationship

2017-02-21T02:38:41Z (GMT) by Thomas, Paul
This thesis examines the role of translation and language in the Australian-Indonesian relationship as a contribution to the history of communication between the two nations. It is presented as a collection of five publications. The first three publications are concerned with Australia’s cultural and linguistic contact with Indonesia before its proclamation of independence in 1945; the fourth with Australia’s diplomatic and strategic application of the Indonesian language during the Cold War; and the fifth with the post-war promotion of the Indonesian English-language press as a response to international reportage of its affairs and a means of translating its voice for its immediate neighbours, including Australia. Australia’s cultural, economic and political interactions with Indonesia rely substantially on the tempering of difference through communication which is receptive to each other’s knowledge, ideas and view of the world. How this has been enabled over time is a primary question of this thesis and is examined through the translational processes that commonly lay behind the communication. The role and agency of translators/interpreters as intermediaries in this exchange are emphasised in order to examine the culture of contact that arises in any given historical interaction. Translation is viewed as a cultural and political activity capable of creating a negotiated space in which culture and knowledge can be shared and exchanged. The presence of the translator/interpreter at historical events confirms the opportunity for this exchange to take place while providing a renewed perspective from the margins.