The article offers an overview of the development of translation history during the past decade. It focuses on recent debates, research areas and methodological avenues in translation history with special emphasis on interdisciplinarity. Driven by a move away from a Euro-centric view of translation, researchers have become interested in producing connected and comparative histories of translation. The dialogue with the general field of history has led to the adoption of new methods and forms of analysis, such as microhistory, histoire croisée, archival research, oral history and digital translation history, and to the birth of new areas of research such as the role of translation in conflict and war.
Ethnography in Translation Studies: an object and a research methodologyAbstract
Based on a review of the literature on ethnography produced by translation scholars over the past twenty years, this contribution explores how translation studies [TS] has appropriated this concept, first as a way to solve translation problems (with Eugene Nida), then as an object (within the cultural turn) and more recently as a research methodology to document and analyze translation and interpreting events in context. The author shows how, in the early seventies, both cultural anthropology and TS saw a change in paradigm that brought the two disciplines closer at the surface level (as the metaphor of culture as a text gained grounds), but that draw them very much apart from an epistemological viewpoint. Indeed, while ethnography was undertaking an interpretive turn, TS chose to define itself as an empirical discipline based on systematic and objective observation; this positivistic bias in early TS could partly explain its late adoption of ethnography as a research methodology. This literary review finally reminds us of the many dichotomies out of which TS has grown and structured itself — text vs context; translation vs. interpretation; experiential vs. scientific knowledge, hermeneutics vs. empiricism, to name but a few — and suggest the need for an interpretive move within the discipline.
Toil, Passion, Serendipity, Money, and Marketing: a Fresh Look at Agents of TranslationAbstract
Drawing initially on the “Introduction” to Agents of Translation (Milton & Bandia 2009) and my work on Monteiro Lobato (Milton 2010, 2019), this article presents a number of the elements of the agency of translation such as patronage, habitus, and gatekeeping. Agents are also involved in an Actor Network, and they may act as ambassadors for the author or school they are attempting to introduce. The study then summarizes the work I have done on the Brazilian editor, author, and translator, José Bento de Monteiro Lobato. It then introduces two new studies, the first on Benjamin Moser, the translator and editor of the Brazilian novelist, Clarice Lispector, and the second on Liz Calder, former owner of the Bloomsbury Press, and the originator of FLIP, the annual literary festival held in the historic coastal town of Paraty, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
English as a lingua franca — a paradigm shift for Translation and InterpretingAbstract
The global spread of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has caused a fundamental change to translation and interpreting (T&I). Translation and interpreting used to revolve around bilingual mediation between native speakers and native listeners. In interpreting, in particular, more often than not, source speeches are now produced by non-native English speakers. The impact of this development has the potential to uproot our traditional understanding of T&I. This article sets out to describe how ELF or, more specifically, input produced by non-native English speakers under ELF conditions, differs from the native-speaker input, translators and interpreters used to be dealing with. It gauges the consequences of these differences for translation and interpreting and examines how fundamental a change it is navigating between non-native speakers and listeners, as compared to the traditional situation of mediating between speakers and listeners operating in their respective first languages. This culminates in an exploration of the question as to whether there is reason to speak of a paradigm shift in translation and interpreting studies.
Translation and the ‘soft’ bridges of communicationAbstract
Translation Studies scholars, on the whole, have struggled to reconcile abstract, metaphorical concepts of translation with the notion of translation as understood in the commercial world of communication, that of a product to be obtained through quick, efficient and cost-cutting processes of transfer across verbal languages. Yet both ideas of translation imply exchanges of perspective between domains, cultures and senses and are inspiring conceptually, artistically and socially. Bonds between metaphorical and practical ideas of translation are essential today and are conceptualised in this article. Translation is crucial as both instrument of equivalence between things and ideas, and as agent revealing differences between them. I will consider how the translation of texts, which do not primarily rely on the verbal depends on those two elements and can favour a reconciliation between the two ideas of translation. I will use the concept of translation as ‘cluster’, examining epistemological and social resonances in musical texts, where expression does not depend primarily on semantic meaning. I will show how translation of the non-verbal can be an instrument of empowerment for 21st century humans and work as agent of social and intellectual cohesion in a fragmented world which has to be interpreted in multiple ways to be meaningful.
Continuity of Texts. Metafiction in a Cortazar Short Story and its Swedish TranslationAbstract
This article analyzes the Swedish translation of the short story Continuidad de los parques, written by the Argentine author Julio Cortázar and translated into Swedish by the translator Jan Sjögren. This short story is an excellent piece of metafiction as it plays with the relationship between a fictional reader and the real reader. By creating an aesthetic illusion, Cortázar leaves the reader in a tense state with a number of unanswered questions during the reading of the text. The analysis shows that this state of tension is weakened and works differently in the Swedish version of the story. By changing the title and other minor, but substantial, parts of the text, the translator transfers his interpretation of the text onto the Swedish translation. The narrative structure is altered and, as a result, the reader of the Swedish version does not have access to the same multiple interpretations afforded by Cortázar’s Spanish text.
Entertainment and education through literary translation in a diaspora newspaper. Literary translations in Prosveta, a newspaper of Slovene-American émigré communityAbstract
The main argument of the article is that literary translation assumed different roles in émigré periodicals: from serving educational purposes, through amplifying the diaspora’s cultural identity, to providing entertainment to their readership, and that all these roles conformed to the political and ideological orientation and positioning of the newspaper and its editors. The article focuses on the newspaper Prosveta (The Enlightenment), a left-of-centre progressive newspaper published by the Slovene diaspora in the U. S., and the presence of literary translations in the period from its establishment in 1916 to 1933 when it began appearing only five days a week and its circulation began to fall. We analyzed 5273 issues of Prosveta, identified all literary translations, and classified them into three categories. The results show that the choice of authors whose works were translated and published in the newspaper reflects the ideological positioning of the editors and newspaper, and blurs the distinction between two categories of translated works: between the works selected for the education and those for the entertainment of Prosveta’ s readership.
Retranslation as an (un)successful counter-narrative: Les frères Karamazov versus Les frères KaramazovAbstract
Drawing on Narrative Theory, this article analyses the second French translation of The Brothers Karamazov as a counter-narrative for the novel’s first translation into French. In the mid-1880s, the critic Vogüé blocked the introduction of Dostoevsky’s narrative by predicting a clash with the French taste. Taking this warning into account, the first French translators Halpérine-Kaminsky and Morice in 1888 framed the source narrative by means of selective appropriation and repositioning of the characters. Being accused of mutilation, Halpérine-Kaminsky reacted with the logic of good reasons. In 1906, the reader was presented with a counter-narrative: Les frères Karamazov by Bienstock and Torquet. However, their retranslation, too, was an abbreviated version of the source narrative. Moreover, a micro-textual analysis shows that they largely neutralized the original couleur locale and use of multilingualism, which the first translators in the context of the Russian literary hype, had reproduced to a considerably larger extent. In conclusion, the extraordinary success of the first French translation of The Brothers Karamazov is explained by referring to the normalizing function of narratives. In the long run, however, as a result of the undermining counter-narratives in combination with the so-called ‘sleeper effect’, neither the narrative invented by Halpérine-Kaminsky and Morice could withstand the test of time.