Translation and Trauma

By Élise Pestre, Fethi Benslama, Kristina Valendinova

Political and social violence can have destructive effects not only on individual subjects but also on their descendants. How can one construct oneself in the presence of a silent traumatic heritage? Can such trauma be symbolized and translated, and if so, how can this be accomplished? The study of the life path of Janine Altounian, the author of several works on the effect of violence transmitted across the generations, and herself a descendant of parents who escaped the Armenian genocide, shows us a subjective attempt to translate one such traumatic heritage. More generally, clinical work with refugees allows us to think about the use of translation in the cases of individuals whose subjective foundations have been severely damaged by the trials of the real.

  • trauma
  • translation
  • clinical work with refugees
  • reterritorialization
  • language
Go to the article on