Sunday, 29 January 2017

Poems about Translation 27: Robo-Burns; The Orfeon Translates (from Bill Herbert)

This poem for Burns Night may be slightly cheating because Burns Night is just past,  but it cheered me up so much that I wanted to share it anyway. It's not strictly speaking a poem about translation, but the whole post can be considered a poetic reflection on translation, if I squint...

The three texts represented are the Scots poem by Bill Herbert 'Rabbie, Rabbie, Burning Bright'; an translation into Bulgarian by Kristin Dimitrova, and a back-translation from Bulgarian into English by Facebook Autotranslate.  They are in reverse order, so you might like to start by scrolling up from the bottom of the page.

P.S. For a previous Burns Night post in this series, see no.21, 'Robert Burns on the Translator as Assassin'.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Upcoming lecture by Dr Henry Liu, University of Bristol, 8 February 2017

We're delighted to announce a very distinguished speaker at the University of Bristol: Dr Henry Liu, current President of the International Federation of Translators (FIT).

Asset Bubbles, Derivatives, Crisis and Translation
Dr Henry Liu
President, International Federation of Translators

School of Modern Languages
University of Bristol
3-5 Woodland Road, BS8 1TE

Wednesday 8 February
Venue: Link Room 2

Wine reception to follow. All welcome.

Asset Bubbles, Derivatives, Crisis and Translation
Many people, including our colleagues, have predicted the end of translation and interpreting as professions with the advancement of automated translation and now with ever more sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence. Despite this ever-deepening crisis, especially with tumbling remunerations to individual practitioners, there is rapid proliferation of translation and interpreting training and programmes around the world and LSPs are sold at astonishing record sums.
In this lecture, the President of FIT will draw on the experience and learning from the 2007 global financial crisis and apply them towards rebalancing the power dynamics within and without this critically important profession as well as developing strategy in the face of such disruption.

Dr Henry Liu is a consultant interpreter in English, Chinese and French. He has been an interpreter for heads of state and other dignitaries. He has been involved in many international conferences, including APEC, and has accompanied many missions abroad. His specialties are law, diplomacy and international trade.
A long-time member of the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI), he is heavily involved in professional training and setting up of professional standards and guidelines. He has been instrumental in bringing together practitioners of Maori, English, and New Zealand Sign Language. He has also been an advisor to many government departments in relation to interpreting and translation policies, access and quality issues. An opinionated advocate of professional organisations and a strong believer in trans-national and multidisciplinary co-operation, Henry has given keynote addresses in major T&I conferences in Oceania, North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Henry is a fantastic speaker, so we hope many of you will be able to join us for what promises to be a fascinating and provocative talk.

P.S. And don't forget our Translation Slam with Alice Jones and Stephen Green, in partnership with the Western Regional Group of the ITI, taking place on Tuesday 31 January!

Follow us on @BristolMATrans for more information on upcoming events and useful translation stuff.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Sebald Lecture, 20 Feb 2017: Michael Longley on translating Latin & Greek poetry

The British Centre for Literary Translation
In association with the British Library

The Sebald Lecture 2017

Releasing the Lyric: Translating Latin and Greek Poetry
Michael Longley CBE

Monday 20 February 2017
7pm, The British Library Conference Centre
London NW1 2DB

Tickets £12 (£10 over 60s, £8 con)
On sale from the British Library Box Office

Since studying Classics at Trinity College Dublin, Irish poet Michael Longley has frequently drawn on classical models in his poetry and established allusive parallels between ancient and modern concerns. Over the course of his career he has also translated a wide variety of fellow poets, from classical authors to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, prompting Justin Quinn to write that ‘for Longley, translation becomes a way of thinking about the world’. In this lecture he will be reading, and commenting on, his translations from Latin and Greek. He will begin with his youthful versions from Sextus Propertius and progress to later poems derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, taking in Sappho and Tibullus on the way.

One of Britain’s finest poets, Michael Longley has received many awards for his lyrical poems about love, death, memory, history and nature, published over more than fifty years. His collection Gorse Fires (1991) won the Whitbread Poetry Prize, and The Weather in Japan (2000) won the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry, the Hawthornden Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His most recent book The Stairwell won the 2015 Griffin International Prize. His next collection Angel Hill will be published in June 2017. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2001, and was appointed a CBE in 2003. He was Professor of Poetry for Ireland from 2007 to 2010.

The Sebald Lecture is given annually on an aspect of literature in translation and is named after W.G. Sebald who set up BCLT in 1989. ‘Max’ was a German writer who opted to live in the UK and continue writing in German. His novels and essays include The Rings of Saturn, Austerlitz and On the Natural History of Destruction, and they established him as a leading writer of the 20th century.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

An Odd Adventure: New Year's musings on subtitles from 1932

Regular readers of this blog or of my Twitter feed will know that I'm working on the history of subtitling. As a happy new year greeting to all three of my faithful readers, here's a short piece from Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times, published on 2 January 1932, a few months after subtitles had begun to appear in the United States (previously audiences had either had to speak the language in question, or make do with a synopsis in the programme).

They were called 'superimposed titles' to differentiate them from intertitles, which were interpolated between moving picture footage, rather than superimposed. Intertitles were referred to at the time as subtitles, to add to the confusion. Reading the rather plodding explanation below, we should remember that these were viewers used to silent films, where the action had to stop when a title card appeared. The idea of a title running concurrently with the action was a bit revolutionary:

Superimposed Titles
Witnessing a picture with superimposed titles, so-called, is an odd adventure. Superimposed titles are explanatory subtitles printed on scenes in the film, which translate the purport of what is being said in another language. They are being used in Europe on the American pictures. The words spoken in English are those translated into German, French or some other language, depending on what country the picture is shown in, so that its dialogue may be understood by the audience.
   I saw the French film, 'David Golder,' with superimposed German titles, and a knowledge of that language made it exceedingly easy to folow. The words spoken in French, which is often a difficult language to understand conversationally, acquired meaning as the picture progressed. It would seem, therefore, that the viewing of pictures with superimposed titles is an aid in acquiring a knowledge of a different tongue. Nor is it as complicated nor as distracting a method of witnessing a picture show as might be imagined.                      (2 January 1932, p.19)

Harry Baur, as David Golder (Duvivier, 1931) with his horrible daughter Joyce, played by Jackie Monnier

As a bonus extra feature on this blog post, here's a snippet by Harrison Carroli a few months later in the Evening News of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania:

A superimposed title, in case the term leaves you with a blank feeling, is the old-fashioned silent title cut down to a narrow strip and imposed across the bottom of the image on the screen. In Japan it's a perpendicular strip along the side. This title translates or explains the English dialogue, which goes on without interruption.(22 April 1932, p.9)