School of Languages, Linguistics and Film


Translation, Transmission, and Cultural Transfer seminar: ‘Translating into Catalan 19th-Century French Texts in Prose: Charles Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier’ (Dr Marta Marfany)
23 January 2019

The friendship between the two French writers Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) and Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) is well known. In 1859 Charles Baudelaire published a biography of his friend and inspiration Théophile Gautier. Years later, on the death of Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier reciprocated by writing a biography to introduce the posthumous edition of Baudelaire’s complete works (1868).In this seminar I will present both biographies, which I am translating into Catalan, for publication in a volume along with other works by these authors. I will explore the main translation challenges posed by these texts, especially those that arise from the chronological gap between the original texts’ mid-nineteenth- century French writers and the twenty-first-century Catalan readers. This historical and cultural distance has repercussion for the translation process. The translator must reproduce the flavour of the language and reconstruct cultural codes that are practically unknown by today’s readers.Some of the translation solutions that I suggest are of course not restricted to Catalan but can be applied to translation into other languages.

Translation, Transmission, and Cultural Transfer seminar: ‘The Translator's Gaze: Intersemiotic Translation as Transactional Process’ (Dr Ricarda Vidal and Dr Madeleine Campbell)
27 February 2019

Communication happens on many levels, the gestural, the olfactory, the visual, the linguistic etc. While word-based languages are confined to linguistic borders, which often coincide with national or even regional borders, non-word-based forms of expression can transcend such borders, while, of course still being influenced by cultural traditions. Intersemiotic translation (e.g. the translation of a poem into dance, or a short story into an olfactory experience, or a film into a painting) opens up a myriad of possibilities to map form and sense between cultures beyond the limitations of words. Such exchanges impact on both the translator and the source artefact enriching them with new layers of understanding. At the same time, current terminologies and metaphors associated with translation imply certain unexamined assumptions about the nature of the source, the translator and the transaction between them. Challenging boundaries between source and target, we make a case to reposition Roman Jakobson’s seminal structuralist definition of intersemiotic translation more as a subjective, synaesthetic and relational experience to be rendered, and less as a message or content-and-form package to be carried across modal or medial boundaries. As a transactional process intersemiotic translation is different from adaptation, illustration or interpretation: the artist must adopt the technique of the literary translator, the deep engagement and immersive reading of the source text as well as the loyalty or duty to its prior form. Hence what makes intersemiotic translation ‘translation’ is not so much the end result but the process and the translator’s gaze. As praxis it can be a way of creating new work within the limitations presented by the source text, while at the same time exposing its multiple facets and ‘truths’. We willillustrate our argument with examples from our own practice as (intersemiotic) translators. This talk is based on the first chapter of our edited volume Translating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders: Intersemiotic Journeys between Media (Palgrave, 2018).

LINKS seminar: Masterclass with Rebecca Walkowitz
5 March 2019

A workshop for postgraduate and PhD students with Rebecca Walkowitz, Professor and Chair in the English Department and Affiliate Faculty in Comparative Literature at Rutgers University.

International Conference: The Past, Present and Future of the Literary Anthology
14 June 2019

The power of the anthology as an instrument of knowledge production has long been recognised, and, since the 1980s, the genre has been problematised and contested both within specific instantiations and in scholarly research which takes the anthology as its subject. The anthology as such, however, has yet to be fully theorised, and this conference aims to move toward a more comprehensive conceptualisation of its forms, functions and cultural dynamics.