On translation and supervision

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ABSTARCT: The analytic and philosophical literature frequently refers to interpretation and translation as interchangeable concepts. Translation creatively transforms the language of a written or spoken text into another language, organises the original text and, despite the translator’s efforts to remain loyal to the author’s idea, some meanings will inevitably be lost or changed. Analytic authors suggest that translating the patient's experiential, embodied, and opaque narrative into a cohesive and meaningful story also changes the patient's suffering and renders it more tolerable. In parallel, I suggest that the supervisor’s role includes translating the supervisee’s experiential and embodied therapeutic narrative into an organised story in a formal language, according to analytic principles. The translated story enables the supervisee to share, albeit in imagination, therapeutic dilemmas and challenges with colleagues that alleviate the burden of clinical responsibility. Furthermore, translating the supervisee’s therapeutic narrative helps the supervisee to acknowledge and accept the otherness in relationships, to find the missing words in his or her discourse, and to identify with and internalise the supervisor’s ways of translating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-371
Number of pages16
JournalPsychodynamic Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Supervision
  • language
  • narrative
  • professional responsibility
  • translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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