Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Michael Henry Heim Collegial Translation Prize: deadline 1 September 2016

This looks like a very interesting initiative. The Michael Henry Heim Prize is offered for the best translation of a journal article by a scholar from a relevant discipline, from an Eastern European language into English. The prize is worth $500 and publication of the translation in the journal East European Politics and Societies. The deadline is 1 September 2016.

The prize came into being because in the Guidelines for the Translation of Social Science Texts, which he compiled with Andrzej Tymowski, Heim
encouraged scholars to translate their colleagues' work to make it more widely available. Although Heim was a renowned literary translator, he was convinced that the best translator of a scholarly text is a colleague in a relevant discipline who has acquired facility in translation, rather than a professional translator who is linguistically skilled but unfamiliar with the discipline's concepts, contexts, and controversies.
The Heim Prize flyer can be downloaded here.

The Guidelines for the Translation of Social Science Texts, as well as translations of it into Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese, can be found at www.acls.org/programs/sstp.

For more writing on translation by Michael Henry Heim see this 2012 interviewthis article in the Yearbook of General and Comparative Literature (paywalled) and the MLA's very useful peer review guidelines on 'Evaluating Translations as Scholarship'.

For more on the problematic status of translation in the academy see this article in the US Chronicle of Higher Education (another version downloadable as a pdf here).

Monday, 25 July 2016

ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellowships *for PhD graduates of Bristol/Bath/Exeter*

This looks like an interesting opportunity for PhD graduates of Bath, Bristol or Exeter universities. 

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is pleased to announce a call for Postdoctoral Fellowships as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The Global Challenges Research Fund is a £1.5 billion funding stream to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries. GCRF forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, and will be awarded according to official ODA guidelines. GCRF will address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, strengthen capability for research and innovation within both UK and developing countries, and will provide an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need. Capacity development is an important aspect of GCRF and this fellowships scheme aims to directly address this.

Proposals should be submitted to the relevant DTC by 16.00 on 9 September 2016. 

N.B. Applicants must have graduated with a PhD from one of the research organisations (ROs) which make up the SWDTC (the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter).

More details at http://www.swdtc.ac.uk/globalchallengesresearchfund/.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Early film translations: Marcel Carné on the first subtitled films in France

An excellent volume of Marcel Carné's film criticism has just appeared: Marcel Carné: Ciné-reporter (1929-1934), edited by Philippe Morisson and published by La Tour Verte.

One section, entitled 'Cet art qui fut muet et devint parlant: Articles sur les talkies' [That art that was dumb and became talking: Articles on the talkies], includes pieces published in Cinémagazine and other film magazines between August 1929 and April 1931, at the height of the transition from silent to sound films. Carné covers what it is like on a film set shooting a sound picture, discusses the technical requirements and skillsets required to shoot and edit sound film (at a time when the camera was just emerging again from its soundproof booth), and debates with Marcel Lapierre about whether silent film has, in fact, had its day.

One of the pieces, 'De l'internationalité du film parlant' ['On the internationalism of the talking picture'] published in Cinémagazine 48, 29 November 1929, gives a fascinating viewpoint on the development, and unpopularity, of subtitles in France. This is so relevant to my own research on film translation between the silent and the sound periods (see http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2015/Splendid_Innovations.cfm) that I hope I will be forgiven for quoting it at some length. It is also cited by my colleague Dr Jean-François Cornu in his 2014 book Le doublage et le sous-titrage. Histoire et esthétique (Presses Universitaires de Rennes),

I have taken the liberty of putting a few particularly interesting phrases in bold, including the speculation that talking films might, like great books, one day have translators of their own (gosh!); and the condemnation that subtitling was a cognitive impossibility for audiences. The first of these statements is not false as such; but the low status of film translators relative to literary translators (see this post for more on this) makes it in some ways a slightly skewed prediction.

 The translation that follows, and any errors in it, are my own.
Le seul reproche - il est vrai qu'il est de taille - qu'on puisse adresser aujourd'hui au film parlant, est que du jour où le cinéma a trouvé la parole, il a cessé d'être un art international par excellence.
   Encore faudrait-il s'entendre là-dessus; le cinéma parlant est national au même titre que la littérature ou le théâtre. Et nous verrons tout à l'heure qu'il est fort possible que, d'ici quelque temps, le film parlé, produit d'une race, ait, lui aussi, ses traducteurs, tout comme un chef-d'oeuvre de la littérature ou une pièce consacrée dans son propre pays, par un succès éclatant.
   À l'origine des talkies, on imagina, pour tourner la difficulté, de sur-impressioner sur l'image des sous-titres explicatifs. Au début, la curiosité l'emporta: il nous suffit de citer le succès du Chanteur de jazz et de La Chanson de Paris. Pourtant, ce que les spectateurs toléraient pour les premiers films, ils l'admirent moins facilement par la suite.
C'est ainsi que Weary River, pour n'en citer qu'un, valant très largement les deux premiers, connut un succès honorable, certes, mais ne souffrant pas la comparaison avec ses deux devanciers. Encore plus que l'absence d'une très grande vedette (car Barthelmess, malgré son grand talent, n'a pas la célébrité d'un Chevalier), les nombreux sous-titres français intercalés dans Weary River ne furent pas étrangers à cet état de choses. Il n'est, au reste, pas une personne à l'heure actuelle qui n'ait compris que ce système n'est qu'un pis-aller qui ne saurait subsister bien longtemps encore. Outre que cela est fort désagréable, il est matériellement impossible à un spectateur de suivre à la fois le jeu parlé des acteurs et de lire les sous-titres inscrits dans le bas de l'image.
   Et puis n'est-il pas paradoxal que le film parlant, au lieu de supprimer les sous-titres comme on était en droit de attendre de lui, les multiplie, au contraire, à l'infini?
   Un établissement des boulevards n'annonce-t-il pas actuellement un film parlant américain cent pour cent parlant avec de nombreux sous-titres français; alors qu'une telle annonce eût fait fuir les spectateurs il y a seulement un an! Enfin, les lecteurs de cette revue n'ont pas été sans remarquer que le procédé de surimpression des titres nécessite, ce que l'on appelle en termes techniques, un contretype, c'est-à-dire un double tirage du négatif, ce qui a pour efet d'obscurcir singulièrement la photographie la plus lumineuse.
   Donc, à tous les points de vue, le système s'avérait détestable. Aussi, a-t-on cherché autre chose. Et la lumière nous est venue, cette fois, de l'Angleterre. [...]
My translation: The only reproach - though, to be fair, a substantial one - that could be directed today to the talking film, is that from the moment that cinema discovered words, it ceased to become the international art par excellence.
   Let us be clear: the sound cinema is national in the same way as literature or theatre are. And we will see shortly that it is entirely possible that, some time in the future, the talking film, as a national product, will itself also have its translators, just as a literary masterpiece might, or a theatre play which has been a major success in its own country.
   When talkies began, someone came up with the idea of solving the problem by superimposing explanatory sub-titles on the image. This passed muster with early spectators, as witness the success of The Jazz Singer and Innocents of Paris. But what spectators tolerated in the first sound films was less welcome to them as time went on. That explains why Weary River, for instance, every bit as good as the two earlier films, met with fair success, sure, but nothing like its two predecessors. This will have been partly due to the lack of a major star (because Barthelmess, while a very talented actor, has nothing like Maurice Chevalier's fame), but the many French subtitles in Weary River were also a factor. There isn't anybody, at this point, who hasn't realised that this system [subtitling] is nothing but a shabby compromise whose days are numbered. Apart from the fact that it is very disagreeable, it is materially impossible for a spectator to follow the actors' performances and to read the subtitles at the bottom of the image at the same time.
   And is it not paradoxical that the talking film, instead of suppressing titles as we might have expected, is instead proliferating them into infinity?
   Is a popular Paris cinema not currently advertising a 100 per cent talking American film with many French subtitles, though such an advertisement would have made spectators take to their heels only a year ago! And readers of this periodical have taken the opportunity to observe that the superimposition of titles on the image requires what is technically referred to as a contretype, in other words a duplication of the negative, the result of which is a noticeable darkening of even the brightest photographic image.
   So, on all fronts, the system has proven detestable. Another solution was sought. And the light came, this time, from England. [...]

(c) for the translation Carol O'Sullivan, 2016. Many thanks to Sam B. for picking up a couple of errors in the draft.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Post-doctoral funding for translation projects, University of Bristol

 The School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol welcomes enquiries about post-doctoral research in related disciplines, including Translation Studies, from potential applicants.

A variety of schemes are available in the United Kingdom, including schemes run by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. It is our understanding that applicants for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowships are still eligible to choose UK universities as a destination. The British Academy also offers Newton Advanced Fellowships to early- and mid-career researchers from Malaysia, Mexico or South Africa. Some deadlines are coming up in the next couple of months.

**Please note that applicants can apply to these schemes for a project at any eligible university, not just the University of Bristol. Candidates should consider carefully the fit between their project and their prospective institution.**

But in this post I am focusing on expertise in my own institution. Specialisms within Translation Studies at the University of Bristol include literary translation across all the languages offered in the School of Modern Languages (Catalan, Czech, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish; for examples of work being done see here, here, here and here); subtitling, audiovisual translation, multilingualism in film (see e.g. here and here); theatre and performance; adaptation; translation in medieval French culture; translation history (see e.g. here, here, here, here); machine translation and post-editing; games localisation. Further languages with which colleagues work include Chinese, Arabic, Georgian and Persian.

Initial enquiries about translation studies research may be made to Dr Rebecca Gould. For projects relating to theatre and performance, please contact Dr Katja Krebs in the School of Arts. Enquiries should be made well in advance of any deadline as the preparation of a competitive bid to any of these schemes is an intensive and time-consuming process. Internal university deadlines also apply. 

Applicants wishing to apply to the British Academy post-doctoral fellowship scheme for research in the School of Modern Languages are required to send a draft application and CV to the Deputy Head of School for Research, Professor Charles Burdett, at c.f.burdett [at] bristol.ac.uk as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Short course on silent film in Bristol

Yet another of the cornucopia of cinematic delights with which Bristol abounds (she says, grandiloquently but in no way exaggerating): this upcoming short course on silent cinema, given by Dr Peter Walsh of South-West Silents (@SWSilents on Twitter).

I'm trying to work out if I can steal enough time from writing to take the course myself. It will take place at the enchanting Twentieth-Century Flicks video shop (and when I say video shop, I mean a place where you can still rent a VHS tape (of certain, rare titles) and take it home and watch it in your VHS player).

Contact details for the silent film course are in the flyer above.