|Title||Translaboration in the literary translation community of practice|
Philostrate describes the mechanicals in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream as “handed men that work in Athens here/ Which never labour'd in their minds till now” (Act V.I), thus contrasting physical work with mental labour. Semioticians add a third domain, language, or WORD, the interface between the realms of THING (the ‘real world’) and THOUGHT (e.g. Peirce, 1955 ), represented as a triangle by Ogden & Richards (1923) and as linear by Denroche (2021). Nowhere are these three domains more inextricably inter-woven than in the practice of translation/interpreting. The toil of the translator involves all three; how/whether they can be mapped onto Arendt’s (1958) metonymically related concepts of labor, work and action is discussed. I argue that translaboration (Zwischenberger & Alfer, 2022) does not represent a shift to one or another of the three realms, but rather a deepening commitment in all three: a more intense engagement with players, stakeholders and communities; a more profound appreciation of implicated text worlds and intertextual networks (Venuti, 2013); and a deeper understanding of the minds of text-creators and text-receivers. I am concerned in this talk with the special case of translaboration in literary translation, where it has both a vertical and a horizontal dimension: ‘horizontal translaboration’ reinforces the author-translator-reader axis, explored here using the concept of mindstyle, a term from Fowler (1977) to indicate two aspects of an author’s distinctive literary style, ‘concept of self’ and idiolectic language use; while ‘vertical translaboration’ connects the translation of a work to the tradition (rich or poor) of previous translations of the same work, even going so far as to reference other translations through embedded quotes, as if in homage. I illustrate how these two dimensions have played out in practice in my own translations of German short stories by Bertolt Brecht, Thomas Mann and Herta Müller. A Midsummer Night's Dream is a perfect allegory for translaboration: it presents a play within a play, in which rude mechanicals work with a written text and try to bring it alive; in which the protagonists of the inner play, Pyramus and Thisbe, from rival families living with historic misunderstandings, are obliged to communicate by whispering through a hole in the wall that separates them. This is unpacked in this talk.
|Conference||Translab 4: Translation and Labour|