When I write the phrase "feminist rhetorical translating," most of you reading will think of that over and against just "translation." For, for most of us, most of the time, "translation" is not inherently gendered and is never to be either more or less persuasive or stylistic or whatever else we think "rhetorical" means. Translation then, is, of course, better than "feminist rhetorical translating." Translation is more "accurate," more "objective," more abstractively representative of the "original" - especially of the original "author" and his original "intention" for that original "text" of his. When it comes to the text of God, whether He's Allah or YHWH or Jesus, then there must be absolutely none of the feminist stuff - for translation ought to be purely a-rhetorical. (The corollaries are  God is not female, or  God is at least beyond gender, or  God always says what He [or It] means in ways that just translation will get right when the translator just gets out of the way.)
And yet, the other way of looking at that is to mark the usually unmarked, default mode. That is, "translation," just as it is by its very Nature, is "masculinistic." Just translation, as logical and as aristotelian as it must be, is just rhetorical. This process (i.e., this other way of looking) can be called de-construction and is suspect because the deconstructionist's post-modernism tends to become another construct. Which is why Jacques Derrida liked to spin his friends on merry-go-rounds finding that he got just as dizzy and why the brilliant Roland Barthes wrote Barthes on Barthes.
So is that all there is? Is that the way it is? Yes, it is. Yes it is unless, of course, one sits in on some voice lessons with Nancy Mairs. In Voice Lessons: On Becoming A (Woman) Writer, Mairs quotes John O'Neill talking about Michel de Montaigne. And then after the quotation marks, she goes on talking about Montaigne. (She might have easily talked about Saint Augustine of Hippo, and I'll explain in a moment. We're getting ahead of ourselves perhaps). Listen:
And as O'Neill points out, "Montaigne. . . rejected the easy assembly of philosophy and theology [both] careless of man's embodied state," aware that the "loss in scholastic abstractions is that they can be mastered without thought and that men can then build up fantastic constructions through which they separate the mind from the body, masters from slaves, life from death, while in reality nothing matches these distinctions."If Montaigne didn't "invent a mode open and flexible enough to enable the feminine inscription," then I'm suggesting that Augustine did. Which is not to say that either of these men were feminists. (Shall we spend another post or even a few sentences here on the sexism of Augustine? Why not save that for another day? There's another quick story to share.)
Preference [is] for relation over opposition, plurality over dichotomy, embodiment over cerebration: Montaigne’s begins to sound like a feminist project. Which is not to say that Montaigne was a feminist. ("You are too noble-spirited," he was able to write to the Comtesse de Gurson when she was expecting her first child, "to begin otherwise than with a male.") But whether intentionally or not, Montaigne invented or perhaps renewed, a mode open and flexible enough to enable the feminine inscription of human experience as no other does. The importance of this contribution has been largely overlooked, perhaps because many of Montaigne's statements, as well as his constant reliance on prior patriarchal authority, strike one as thoroughly masculine. . . .
When I was doing Ph.D. coursework in Classical Rhetoric, one prof assigned Augustine's De Doctrina Christiana, Book IV (translated by Thérèse Sullivan, excerpted in Patricia Bizzell's and Bruce Herzberg's The Rhetorical Tradition). Bizzell and Herzberg point to the standard translations: "D. W. Robertson (1958)" and "R. P. H. Green (1995)" while noting that "Sister Thérèse departs from the standard translation of the title, On Christian Doctrine, which we use throughout. She renders it as On Christian Teaching to emphasize the rhetorical activity Augustine discusses." And these three translators also all look back to the English translation by Philip Schaff and J. F. Shaw (1887). My rhetoric prof and classmates were more interested in what Augustine was saying about rhetoric, remarkable stuff, as an early mix of pagan and Christian learning than about how he was saying, so it seemed to me. So via Interlibrary loan, I ordered Sullivan's Commentary with a Revised Text, Introduction, and Translation, which was her dissertation at Notre Dame in 1930. She describes her commentatary as "an investigation of Augustine's rhetorical theory, and . . . a study of his own language and style." (For anyone interested, that prof of mine and some of those classmates have beautifully republished Sullivan's work and several essays in The Rhetoric of St. Augustine of Hippo.)
If you're still with me, I want you to listen in on what Sullivan does with translating. Watch how she translates the very rhetoric of Augustine on translation.
First, to note the difference, here's Shaw's translation. Then Sullivan's. Then Augustine's ambiguous rhetoricky text in which he's not only talking about an original author (i.e., the Prophet Amos - unnamed in the context below) but also about the Jewish translators of Amos into Greek and how rhetoricky that ambiguous text is (even though Augustine is saying he's going, instead, with the Christian Latin-translation translator Jerome. Oh, and I've bolded the stuff for the contrasts.)
And one more thing, Sullivan gives this footnote: "non autem, etc.: this is treated as a separate sentence by the Benedictine editors, but there is no need of considering it thus, as elliptical, since it clearly follows closely upon hoc faciam, etc., above." This bit of pedantry is showing how multidimensional, how robust, Augustine's Latin as he writes about Greek and Latin and translators and translations of a Hebrew speaking, rigidly-written-down Prophet. There's no need, she's also saying, for her the translator to commit what Robert Alter calls the "heresy of explanation."
So here goes:
SHAW'S TRANSLATION: I see, then, that I must say something about the eloquence of the prophets also, where many things are concealed under a metaphorical style, which the more completely they seem buried under figures of speech, give the greater pleasure when brought to light. In this place, however, it is my duty to select a passage of such a kind that I shall not be compelled to explain the matter, but only to commend the style. And I shall do so, quoting principally from the book of that prophet who says that he was a shepherd or herdsman, and was called by God from that occupation, and sent to prophesy to the people of God. I shall not, however, follow the Septuagint translators, who, being themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their translation, seem to have altered some passages with the view of directing the reader's attention more particularly to the investigation of the spiritual sense; (and hence some passages are more obscure, because more figurative, in their translation;) but I shall follow the translation made from the Hebrew into Latin by the presbyter Jerome, a man thoroughly acquainted with both tongues.
SULLIVAN'S TRANSLATING: And so I see that I must say something also of the eloquence of the Prophets, greatly cloaked as it is in a metaphorical style. The more, however, that they seem obscure by the use of figurative expressions, the more pleasing they are when their meaning has been made clear. But I must quote some passage wherein I may not have to explain what is said. Wherefore, I shall draw especially from the book of that Prophet, who says that having been shepherd and herdsman, he was by divine appointment taken and sent to prophesy to the people of God: but not according to the Septuagint translators, who even themselves, working under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, seem for this very reason to have expressed some things in a different way, in order that the attention of the reader might be rather directed to a study of the spiritual sense–and thus some of their passages are even more obscure because more figurative–but rather as the translation has been made from the Hebrew into the Latin language, done by the presbyter, Jerome, himself a skillful expounder of both tongues.
AUGUSTINE'S PREFERENCES: Certe si quid elus proferimus ad exemplum eloquentiae, ex illis epistolis utique proferimus quas etiam ipsi obtrectatores eius, qui sermonem praesentis contemtibilem putari volebant, graves et fortes esse confessi sunt. Dicendum ergo mihi aliquid esse video et de eloquentia prophetarum, ubi per tropologiam multa obteguntur, quae quanto magis translatis verbis videntur operiri, tanto magis, quum fuerint aperta, dulcescunt. Sed hoc loco tale aliquid commemorare debeo, ubi quae dicta sunt non cogar exponere, sed commendem tantum, quo modo dicta sint. Et ex illius prophetae libro potissimum hoc faciam, qui se pastorem vel armentarium fuisse dicit, atque inde divinitus ablatum atque missum, ut Dei populo prophetaret: non autem secundum septuaginta interpretes, qui etiam ipsi divino spiritu interpretati ob hoc aliter videntur nonnulla dixisse, ut ad spiritalem sensum scrutandum magis admoneretur lectoris intentio (unde etiam obscuriora nonnulla, quia magis tropica, sunt eorum), sed sicut ex Hebraeo in Latinum eloquium presbytero Hieronymo utriusque linguae perito interpretante translata sunt.