Translation Studies

A New Journal Specialized in Translation and Interpreting!

Transletters. International Journal of Translation and Interpreting is a brand spanking new journal that is looking for submissions for its first issue. Deadline is April 30, 2018. María del Mar Ogea from the Universidad de Córdoba and Christiane Nord from Universität Heidelberg are its chief editors, and its advisory board is full of linguistics and translation studies super stars. Don't miss this opportunity to appear in their first issue.


Re-inventing the Wheel

Beijing

From the top of my very short blogging soap box, I tooted my horn yesterday. But what was perhaps less clear was the lack of original thought behind my rant. I am not alone in thinking the agrandisement of CanLit’s purview necessary, nor am I one of the first to think of it.

Thinkers and researchers like Smaro Kamboureli, who have tirelessly pushed this literature beyond its own frontiers, hemispheric researchers like Winfried Siemerling, global connectors of the likes of Michael Cronin, all strive to look outward, rather than inward, to define literature. Those are the footsteps into which I insert my own awkward feet.

The translation studies researcher in me adds a keen sensitivity to language, and its transfer, use, and misuse. A bit like a linguist, I like to follow the path of works, see where their surprising circulation leads. And this leads me to national, linguistic, cultural and sociological barriers and frontiers of literature that erect themselves naturally in front of certain literary scholars who sometimes do not see past them (or see them at all, for that matter). This is conceivably where I differ from several CanLit scholars, I bring the translatory dimension to literary works, in their textual existence, and their circulatory existence, as published works.

Two dimensions — the text and what happens to the text once it is published. The connection between these two dimensions is not one made off the cuff. Researchers like John Guillory make that amply clear. Canonization has nothing to do with the intrinsic nature of the text. So what is it about the text that “speaks” to the instances that canonize them, and why do we follow them like sheep? The connection between text, translation and circulation, how is it forged? A triangulation to be investigated within the confines of CanLit. How does one end of the triangle shed light on the other? Is there any rhyme of reason to the connections?

 

 


Précisons...

  Ggb_tp

A.M. Klein is a well-known Canadian modernist poet from Montreal whose writing had to wait over 40 years to be read in French translation. As wide as this gap in time may be, it is not a surprising one. However, what does prompt further investigation is the timing in the appearance of these translations.

Klein’s poetry transforms him into a well-positioned and talented observer of his era. But upon closer inspection, his writing also takes on an unexpected relevance in Montreal’s 21st century.

Applying the translation studies concepts of “translatability” and “furthering”, as defined by Sherry Simon, I will explore his short poem “O God ! O Montreal !”. I will illustrate the relevancy of Klein’s opinion within his own period but also how this view was, at the time, condemned to stay within a static cultural environment. Over two decades have passed since and Montreal’s cultural environment is quite different from the one in which Klein wrote. But nevertheless, today’s pluricultural Montreal is fraught by an echo from Klein’s writing.

In this particular poem, Klein makes Montreal’s historical and cultural realities cross paths over a period of two centuries. Like an elegant time capsule, the poem is a criticism of Montreal’s suspicious perception of all that is “culture” and traces a part of our history all the while helping us answer the question: How did we get this way?

All this brings us to the importance of translating more of Klein’s poetry as a way of reconstituting and enriching a part of Montreal’s cultural history from the very valid and seldom considered vantage point, the Anglophone poet.


Henri's angle on Poetry Translation

Poétique du traduire

Être responsable de la critique d’une traduction de poésie est une tâche plutôt ingrate. En général, elle consiste à défaire quelque chose qui ne devrait jamais être déconstruit de façon linguistique. Et pourtant, nous insistons régulièrement en procédant ainsi.

La poésie doit être la forme d’écriture qui illustre le mieux le principe de l’holisme : le poème en entier est plus que la somme des mots utilisés pour le composer. Et comme Meschonnic l’a dit, traduire un poème est à quelque part en écrire un. Le poème est la plus pure représentation ou concentration de la voix de l’auteur. Il ne suffira jamais de comprendre simplement les mots pour en faire leur transposition. Le sens des mots forme un tout, s’entremêlant de la voix propre de l’auteur. Le sens des mots? Le sens se retrouve niché dans une multiplicité d’endroits qui débordent grandement des frontières lexicales.

And into English we go this time around...

Criticizing the translation of a poem is a thankless task. Generally, it consists in taking apart something that should never be deconstructed linguistically. Nevertheless, this is the path we always seem to go down.

Poetry has to be the kind of writing that illustrates best the principle of holism: the poem in its entirety is equal to more that the sum of the words used in its composition. Just like Meschonnic wrote, translating a poem is actually writing one. The poem is the purest representation or concentration of the author's voice. It will never be sufficient to simply understand the words in order to transpose them into another language. The meaning of the words make up a whole unit, entertwined with the author's singular voice. The meaning of the words? Meaning is nested in a multiplicity of places that transcend lexical limits.


The news you can find on Facebook!

Claro, that "Sting" "Madona" of the translating world has a Facebook account totally worth following. Commentary on anything and everything that goes on around him.

Although, sometimes I wonder if these Facebookers and Twitterers don't spend more time typing in their lives than actually living them, but hey, to each his own. Somehow, the last thing I think of doing is grabbing my "smart phone" to type in some witty comment when living a great moment or having a flash of inspiration...but it's so much fun reading them...anyway, I digress.

Here's what I found this morning...haven't seen this news anywhere else though.

   Casanova_Claro



Are you in or out?

The perpetual labeling of translation as a phenomenon in the margins raises a problem for me. When you're in the margins, you are in effect outside of something. Translation/translating/the translator represent actually exactly the opposite of this. They are so inside, they have fallen through the cracks and are in a world where they have befriended a little girl called Alice.

The Meanings of "Translation"

Au fait, what is translation? Yea yea, what's word "x" in "y" language...that's the definition with the least subtlety. The quintessential elephant in the china shop.

I have recently been investigating translation in the context of advertisement. Now that's waayyy more delicate. So delicate that we all like to refer to it as "adaptation" and not all out translation. The word is of no consequence, almost. Everything surrounding the word though, makes up the juice, the meat, the stuff you have to analyze in order to render "x" into "y" language. So what is this meaty stuffing made of? Bottom line, the product. Then, you build up from there. All that infamous market research comes into play for your target audience. Add the (very real) notion of globalization and you need to break it down into age groups..because that is the one thing that doesn't really change throughout all the (media hungry, consumerist) cultures of the world.

So I guess translation, once again, becomes the tool for control (selling stuff). Could it be a simple transposition of colonial translation as seen through the eyes of companies trying to sell their products? Replace the colonizer by the company? Are we all becoming "colonized"?

Hmmm. This needs a bit more research here. But what do you think? I would be very interested in finding out.