The view that social researchers function as neutral entities, hermetically insulated from their work, has largely been discarded these days—often by these researchers themselves. It is still commonly encountered, however, among translators as they consider their own work.

Not so the four essays collected here, which formed the basis of a panel organized by Jill Gibian at the 2005 American Literary Translators Association meeting in Montreal. Gibian's questions to her colleagues aim to shed light on an intimate and potentially transformative relationship between translators and their works: What kinds of social commitments, explicitly articulated or not, might they have had in taking on their projects? How might such commitments have been altered—reinforced, obliterated—in the process of translating? How had they, in turn, been changed by taking on these projects, and giving them a voice in English?

The responses, transformed from oral to written texts, are here presented in the order selected by the panelists themselves: Andrea Labinger on Liliana Heker, Jonathan Cohen on Ernesto Cardenal, Martha Collins on post-war Vietnamese poetry, and Russell Valentino on trusting one's translator.