Translations played a key role in a number of new publishing ventures in the nineteenth century, helping satiate the growing demand for new content while circumventing the costs of authorial advances. Translations drew attention to the foreign as much as they made such foreignness intelligible to domestic audiences. The translation of Walter Scott into German, for example, was a thriving industry in the early nineteenth century, with translations appearing in ever shorter time spans after the date of the original publication. This chapter tries to draw attention to the way women translators from this period both mobilized such looseness to generate authorial openings for themselves as well to identify the risks such looseness posed to them as writers and individuals. Conceptualizing translation as a practice of overhearing afforded a position of power to women writers, allowing them to use the growing availability of printed books to “talk back” to institutions organized to exclude them.
Keywords: translations, publishing, talk back, nineteenth century, costs, publication, women writers