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GCLR Workshop – Translation Across Media
May 19 @ 1:00 pm - 6:30 pm
GCLR Workshop “Translation Across Media” on Friday, May 19, 1pm-6.30pm
Wallis Annenberg Conference Room, SSMS 4315
The Workshop focuses on translation as a technique for cultural production. Our focus will be on the relationship between translation and media such as literary writing (in print and manuscript), film, photography, and computers, and the way these and other media technologies underwrite different ways of addressing the question of what it means to translate. Some questions we hope to address include: what happens to texts when they move across languages, geographic regions, times, and media? What strategies have translators, broadly conceived, adopted to transform their texts as they embed them in new contexts? How do these strategies help us rethink the very idea of translation? Everyone is welcome to attend.
Schedule (Paper Abstracts available here)
1.00-1.15 Introduction (Sven, Tom, Dominique)
Panel 1: Translation’s Transgressive Prospects (Chair: Tom)
1.15-1.45 Patrice Petro, “Translation Across Disciplines”
1.45-2.15 Giancarlo Tursi, “Audio Ferrante: Performance and Translation”
2.15-2.45 Jody Enders, “Virtual Dramaturgy: Toward a Taxonomy for the Translation of
Panel 2: Translation and/as Politics (Chair: Dominique)
3.00-3.30 Naoki Yamamoto, “Three Lessons from Translation: Japan, Marxism, and Media Theory”
3.30-4.00 Juan Pablo Lupi, “Republican Media”
4.00-4.30 Cristian Nae (National University of the Arts George Enescu, Iasi), “Subversive Practices of Total Realism: Stano Filko’s Happsoc Collective Performances and Ion Bitzan’s Silkscreen Painting Series”Coffee Break
Panel 3: Translation Across Media/Technologies (Chair: Sven)
4.45-5.15 Susan Hwang, “Specters of D.H. Lawrence: Paik Nak-chung and the Act of Dissident Reading in South Korean Literature”
5.15-5.45 James McNamara, “Foregrounding Shakespeare’s Queen Margaret via Serialized Television Adaptation in The Hollow Crown”
5.45-6.15 Anna Schewelew, “Crumbling Machines No More: Machine Translation as a Translation Studies Challenge”
Patrice Petro (Film and Media Studies, UCSB), “Translation Across Disciplines”
Petro will discuss the book “At Translation’s Edge” and the initiative she led at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee to expand Translation Studies across campus.
Giancarlo Tursi (French and Italian, UCSB), “Audio Ferrante: Performance and Translation”
In my 2021 article “After Ferrante: Translation, Subtitles, and Stereoscopic Reading,” I made a case for subtitling as an unacknowledged form of translation by looking at the TV adaptation of the first season of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. In particular, I was interested in the ways the use of Italian subtitles allows the TV series to recuperate the Neapolitan dialect that is only ever alluded to in the original. In this paper, I would like to extend my analysis to another unsuspected, intermedial form of translation: actress Anna Bonaiuto’s audiobook reading of the novels. In his seminal book of translation theory After Babel, George Steiner argues that every act of interpretation is an act of translation. He recalls that in Romance languages, the word for “interpreter” (“interprète,” in French, “interprete” in Italian), refers to the life–giving role of the actor and critic alike. Not only does actress Bonaiuto’s masterful reading of the works constitute such an interpretation/performance, but the act of listening to an audiobook raises the question of what constitutes reading in the first place and blurs the line between writing and orality, speaking to one of the central themes of the novels.
Jody Enders (French and Italian, UCSB), “Virtual Dramaturgy: Toward a Taxonomy for the Translation of Theater”
When making meaning of a play in general and of a comedy in particular, the translator owes at least a quadruple duty to the auditory, visual, kinetic, and linguistic stimuli that bombard the senses simultaneously during performance. Indeed, a theatrical script is a sort of blueprint of and for performance, which is itself a form of translation, interpretation, and adaptation. Each and every time theater goes live, performance changes everything; but its crucial, inflectional modalities are often unseen on the page, especially in the case of the works that I translate: medieval and Renaissance farces. The better to bring those inflections into view, I sketch a taxonomy for how to practice what I call “virtual dramaturgy:” a way for the translator to see the potentiality of performance in the mind’s eye and to hear it in the mind’s ear. Once the holistic translator stays faithful not just to the language of a literary genre but to the action of an artistic medium, it is all the more feasible to recapture the sights and sounds that re–enliven the humor of the past—and the present.
Naoki Yamamoto (Film and Media Studies, UCSB), “Three Lessons from Translation: Japan, Marxism, and Media Theory”
In this presentation, I will talk about the three different lessons I have learned from my own commitment to translation. The first lesson is what I call “Translation as Politics” and it comes from my ongoing research on the history of the Japanese left from the 1920s through the present. In this specific context, translation meant more than the local translator’s linguistic ability, as it more often than not determined his or her political positions, with all kinds of “authorities” given to the authors of the original foreign texts. As an example of this approach, I refer to my unpublished work on the Japanese Marxist thinker Fukumoto Kazuo and his “unreferenced” translation of György Lukács’s 1923 classic History and Class Consciousness. The second lesson—which I would call a need for a more expansive notion of “medium–specific” approach in translation—stems from my speciality as a film and media scholar, and it deals with a specific form of translation unique to film and other story–telliing audio–visual media: subtitling. To address this “practical” issue from a “theoretical” perspective, I will introduce film scholar Markus Nornes’s highly provocative concept called “abusive subtitling,” which I happened to translate from English to Japanese two decades ago. Finally, I will conclude my talk with the third and latest lesson, a self–reflection on my recent translation of Fredric Jameson’s short but notoriously complicated online essay titled “Concerning Godard” (2022). In this actual practice of translation, I tried to offer a model for what I consider to be “responsible” translation in the age of AI and other digital new technologies.
Juan Pablo Lupi (Spanish and Portuguese, UCSB), “Republican Media”
The experimentation with the print medium is the most distinctive feature of the work of South American polymath Simón Rodríguez (1769–1854). I argue that in his print compositions he develops a theory about the “media” (los medios) necessary for building a republican political community in the wake of the movements of independence from Spain. For Rodríguez, a republic was not only a political discourse but a set of bodily, social and material practices that were radically new and wholly strange for societies that were leaving behind three centuries of monarchical rule. How to “translate” these practices in order to build a new political community?
Cristian Nae (National University of the Arts George Enescu, Iasi; currently Germanic and Slavic, UCSB), “Subversive Practices of Total Realism: Stano Filko’s “Happsoc” Collective Performances and Ion Bitzan’s Silkscreen Painting Series”
The presentation focuses on cultural translation and transference in the otherwise very different works of Stano Filko and Ion Bitzan – taking as case studies the former’s notion of “happsoc” as an adaptation of Allan Kaprow’s happenings to the Slovak social reality of the 1960s, as well as the adoption of painterly photo–assemblages produced by Robert Rauschenberg in 1964 in the works of Romanian artists Ion Bitzan produced in the late 1960s, characterized as a form of “humanist realism”. Despite their obvious differences in artistic intentionality, integration in the institutional artistic circuit of the 1960s, and media of production, I propose to view them not as instances of “unofficial”/”non–conformist” and “official” art, but rather as two different reinterpretations of realism as a form of anti–conventionalism in Eastern European art of the late 1960s.
Susan Hwang (East Asian, UCSB), “Specters of D.H. Lawrence: Paik Nak–chung and the Act of Dissident Reading in South Korean Literature”
My presentation discusses the work of a South Korean literary critic named Paik Nak–chung. Widely considered the most important literary critic to emerge in South Korea in the last half century, Paik played a pivotal role in reinvigorating literature of engagement in authoritarian and post–authoritarian South Korea. I examine the intervention he sought to make in contemporary Korean literature as well as politics by analyzing his translation and reading of the early twentieth century British writer D.H. Lawrence. I will be showing how Paik’s reading of this writer hinged upon his simultaneous agenda of decolonization and modernization on the one hand, and of democratization and industrialization on the other—two imperatives that, though deemed as equally urgent, were often felt to be at odds with one another in the context Cold War South Korea.
James McNamara (Film and Media Studies, UCSB), “Foregrounding Shakespeare’s Queen Margaret via Serialized Television Adaptation in The Hollow Crown”
In this paper, I examine how Ben Power’s television adaptation of William Shakespeare’s First Tetralogy (Henry VI Parts 1, 2, 3 and Richard III) for The Hollow Crown foregrounds Queen Margaret via a script–to–screen “translation” strategy that draws on the defining “serialized” quality of twenty–first–century “complex television”. Queen Margaret is the only core character to recur through each of the First Tetralogy’s plays, but she has a shifting role in stage and screen productions of Shakespeare’s First Tetralogy. Pivotal in some, she’s cut from others. By removing or reducing the play–length “episodic” stories from each component play in the Tetralogy, Power’s “translation” preserves the Tetralogy’s serialized elements which, in turn, establishes Queen Margaret’s recurring character arc as the serialized season’s narrative throughline. In doing so, Power uses contemporary serialized television narrative to emphasize the centrality of a character who otherwise requires commercially impractical sequential stage production to reveal and is, as a result, too–often neglected in performance and scholarship.
Anna Schewelew (PhD Candidate, German and Slavic Studies, UCSB), “Crumbling Machines No More: Machine Translation as a Translation Studies Challenge”
With the advent of Neural Machine Translation and Large Language Models like GPT–4, Machine Translation cannot be dismissed anymore as a “crumbling machine” (Bassnett/Lefevere 1998). Instead of a “spectacular failure” (Prunc 2011), MT – despite all of its shortcomings – is a spectacular success of machine learning that changes our very ideas about interlingual communication. While (socio)linguists have been studying the uses and misuses, possibilities and problems of translation technologies for decades, critical engagements with Machine Translation as an actual rather than imagined technology in (literary) translation studies are still few and far between. In this presentation, I will give a short overview of the state of Machine Translation today in order to ask whether and how contemporary Machine Translation challenges our notions of translation and how, in turn, (literary) translation studies could contribute to a critical discourse on MT in particular and to critical AI studies in general.