HomeOn Homophonic Translation

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Published on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by João Fernandes

Summary

For the past fifty years, homophonic translation (traduction homophonique, sound translation, Oberflächenübersetzung) has been practiced internationally by an ever-increasing number of writers from the USA, the UK, Germany, France and beyond. Following pioneers such as Louis Zukofsky, Ernst Jandl and members of the Oulipo group, this heterodox genre (between translation and creation) has spread widely, to the point where it is among the exercises practiced in creative writing classes. Although some consider it as an unacceptable, illegitimate, and unethical practice, it is nonetheless true that such an approach to translation has acquired a crucial place within experimental writing, and notably in the poetic field.

Announcement

Argument

For the past fifty years, homophonic translation (traduction homophonique, sound translation, Oberflächenübersetzung) has been practiced internationally by an ever-increasing number of writers from the USA, the UK, Germany, France and beyond. Following pioneers such as Louis Zukofsky, Ernst Jandl and members of the Oulipo group, this heterodox genre (between translation and creation) has spread widely, to the point where it is among the exercises practiced in creative writing classes. Although some consider it as an unacceptable, illegitimate, and unethical practice, it is nonetheless true that such an approach to translation has acquired a crucial place within experimental writing, and notably in the poetic field.

Because it strives to transpose the sound aspect of a given text into an other language without first paying attention to lexical meaning, homophonic translation can seem as a provocation, or even a Dadaist prank, in that it deliberately breaks with the demands of transparency and questions our utilitarian relation to language. At the same time, because it refuses to consider language as immaterial and because it focuses on what Ezra Pound called melopeia – i.e. the musical properties of poetic texts that often get obscured by semantic concerns – it constitutes an exceptional vector for the analysis, deconstruction and refashioning of poetic and theoretical discourses.

Without necessarily renouncing meaning or praising non-sense, homophonic translation seeks to move beyond a restrictive conception of literary intentionality through a reappraisal of the materiality of language, in order to give language a new visibility. Moreover, homophonic translation also prompts a redefinition of the relation between an original and its translation. Via a paradoxical valorization of opacity, it disfigures the authority of the original text, leading to what Charles Bernstein calls the “revenge of the translator.” Beyond its parodic aim when it concerns great works of the western tradition (such as Jandl’s translation of Wordsworth), homophonic translation also contains a subversive and critical dimension that applies to the fields of both literature and translation. It is worth wondering, as Rick Snyder does, why a homophonic translation of Celan is dubious whereas Catullus by Zukofsky or Christopher Logue’s Iliad are ludic or “a way to destabilize a dominant poetics.”

In spite of the fact that many great poets have practiced homophonic translation, it has largely been ignored by international academic research. Thus, not a single collective book or monograph can be read on the subject. The main aim of this first international conference devoted to homophonic translation will thus be to assess the situation, starting with the literary domains where the genre appeared in the 1950s: the United States/UK, France and Germany. This geographical and linguistic framing is not intended to be restrictive, but simply offers a starting point for our transnational comparative perspective.

This conference does not intend to reach a univocal and normative definition of such a practice, but rather to reveal its various realizations through time and their links to the evolution of poetic forms and of approaches to literary translation. Indeed, purely homophonic translations are rare, and ‘orthodox’ translations done by poets show a high sensibility to the musicality of the translated text, and might even use homophonic procedures. Such intertwined relations between musicality and meaning, between creation and reproduction, between literature and translation will be at the heart of our investigations. A poetics of translation will be thus created. For some poets, it may become a politics of translation.

Another main goal of this event is to trace the genealogy of homophonic translation, of its precursors, models and inspirations, from historical avant-gardes of the 20th century to nursery rhymes and Victorian nonsense poetry, to Baroque macaronic poetry. Equally important will be the links between popular and non-popular genres, between literary research and ludic approaches to language.

Main themes

We welcome case studies as well as synthetic studies in a historical or theoretical perspective. We will particularly welcome propositions on the following questions and themes:

  • the history and the various forms of (interlingual) homophonic translation, especially in the USA/UK, France and Germany;

  • the origins of homophonic translation and its links to other techniques, forms and genres (homophonic adaptation, macaronic poetry, nonsense poetry, nursery rimes, sound poetry, bruitism, mixed language, holorhyme, etc.);

  • homophonic translation and poetry writing; translating homophonic poetry-translation ; homophonic translation and multilingual literature;

  • homophonic translation and popular culture (dog latin, mondegreen, soramimi, etc.);

  • collective homophonic translation (poet groups, collaborative translation, creative writing teaching, etc.);

  • the mutual influence of homophonic translation and other poetry translation methods, translation theory;

  • homophonic translation   between parody and theory;

  • critical responses to homophonic translation.

Submission guidelines

Papers may be written in English, French, or German. Proposals (250-300 words and a bio-bibliographic note) should be sent before March 1st, 2016 to homophonic.translation.2016@gmail.com. Proposals will be selected before May 30, 2016.

Among the authors to be considered:

Gary Barwin, Marcel Bénabou, Charles Bernstein, Rolf-Dieter Brinkmann, Ann Cotten, Stacy Doris, Ulrike Draesner, Frédéric Forte, Christian Hawkey, Jeff Hilson, Paul Hoover, John Hulme, Ernst Jandl, Pierre Joris, Robert Kelly, Pierre Klossowski, Franz Josef Knape, Norbert Lange, François Le Lionnais, Tony Leuzzi, Christopher Logues, Léonce W. Lupette, Steve McCaffery, André Markowicz, David Melnik, bp Nichol, Oulipo, Oskar Pastior, Ezra Pound, Pascal Poyet, Stephen Rodefer, Ralf-Rainer Rygulla, Armand Robin, Ron Silliman, Julian Tuwim, Philip Terry, Chris Tysh, Louis Van Rooten, Versatorium assortiation, Bénédicte Vilgrain, Rosmarie Waldrop, Uljana Wolf, Peter Waterhouse, Louis Zukofsky… 

Organizers

  • Vincent Broqua (University of Paris at Saint-Denis) and
  • Dirk Weissmann (University of Paris at Créteil)

Sponsored by

  • EA Transferts critiques et dynamiques des savoirs, Université Paris-8, Vincennes–Saint-Denis
  • Institut des Mondes Anglophone, Germanique et Roman, IMAGER), Université Paris-Est Créteil
  • Équipe Multilinguisme, Traduction, Création de l’Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes (ITEM),
  • CNRS/École normale supérieure
  • Labex TransferS, ENS/Collège de France/CNRS/PSL
  • Melodia E. Jones Chair, State University of New York at Buffalo

Keynote-Speakers

  • Charles Bernstein,
  • Jean-Jacques Lecercle,
  • Jacques Roubaud

Scientific committee

  • Olga Anokhina (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS, Paris, France),
  • Camille Bloomfield (Université Paris-13 Nord/UMR Thalim Université Paris-3, France),
  • Antoine Cazé (Université Paris-Diderot, Paris-7, France),
  • Christine Ivanovic (Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria),
  • Jacques Lajarrige (Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès, France),
  • Abigail Lang (Université Paris-Diderot, Paris-7, France),
  • Sylvie Le Moël (Université Paris-Est Créteil, France),
  • Jean-Jacques Poucel (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA),
  • Jean-François Puff (Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne, France),
  • Arnaud Regnauld (Université Paris-8 Vincennes–Saint-Denis, France),
  • Monika Schmitz-Emans (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany),
  • Eckhard Schumacher (Ernst Moritz Arndt Universität Greifswald, Germany),
  • Cole Swensen (Brown University, Providence, USA),
  • Claus Telge (Osaka University, Japan),
  • Jean-Jacques Thomas (State University of New York at Buffalo, USA)

Subjects

Places

  • Université Paris-Est Créteil
    Créteil, France (94)
  • Université Paris-8
    Saint-Denis, France (93)
  • Ecole normale supérieure
    Paris, France (75)

Date(s)

  • Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Keywords

  • traduction, poésie, homophonie, literature

Contact(s)

  • Dirk Weissmann
    courriel : weissmann [at] u-pec [dot] fr
  • Vincent Broqua
    courriel : vincentbroqua [at] gmail [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Dirk Weissmann
    courriel : weissmann [at] u-pec [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« On Homophonic Translation », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, https://calenda.org/347843

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