Voices in Translation: Bridging Cultural Divides
In choosing to render dialect and vernacular speech into Scots, Bill Findlay, to whose memory this volume is dedicated, made a pioneering contribution in safeguarding the authenticity of voices in translation. The scene of the book is set by an overview of approaches to rendering foreign voices in English translation including those of the people to whom Findlay introduced us in his Scots dialect versions of European plays. Martin Bowman, his frequent co-translator follows with a discussion of their co-translation of playwright Jeanne-Mance Delisle. Different ways of bridging the cultural divide in the translation between English and a number of plays written in a number of European languages are then illustrated including the custom of creating English versions, an approach rejected by contributions that argue in favour of minimal intervention on the part of the translator. But transferring the social and cultural milieu that the speakers of other languages inhabit may also cause problems in translation, as discussed by some translators of fiction. In addition attention is drawn to the translators' own attitude and the influence of the time in which they live. In conclusion, stronger forces in the form of political events are highlighted that may also, adversely or positively, have a bearing on the translation process.
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The period plays , of course , were viewed by audiences through a filter of 20th
century sensibilities and prejudices about the language , and so they were cued
into expectations that a Scots - speaking bourgeois would be a buffoon .
The key question here , of course , is the extent to which the translator can – or
should – attempt to replicate such cultural utility . After all , we cannot pretend that
plays such as Blood Wedding , Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba have the
Of course , Lorca as a cultural brand is much more accepted in the English -
language theatrical mainstream than was the case , say , 20 years ago . But his
status as a ' dramatist of poetry and passion ' is not entirely helpful to any of the ...
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The Vernacular Journey
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