Retranslation is commonly associated with a dual focus: “the act of translating a work that has previously been translated into the same language” and “the result of such an act, i.e. the retranslated text itself” (Tahir Gürçağlar 2009: 233). The activity and its products have constituted a considerable share of the global translation market since the Middle Ages. Canonical literary works as well as religious, political, and philosophical texts have always been translated and retranslated into several languages, and this is clearly still the case in many cultures. However, in spite of the large corpus of retranslations that may thus be available for research purposes, the field has only recently developed into a serious topic of inquiry in the context of Translation Studies. Academic discussion of the retranslation of literary works was actually initiated in 1990, when Bensimon and Berman edited a special issue of Palimpsestes on ‘Retraduire’, in which they raised some of the central research topics of what was later coined Retranslation Theory (cf. Brownlie 2006). The phenomenon has steadily attracted research attention in recent years, with the entry ‘Retranslation’ being added to the second edition of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies in 2009 and Koskinen & Paloposki’s chapter in the Handbook of Translation Studies (2010). More recently, Deane-Cox (2014) devoted a monograph to the topic of literary retranslation and also Target published a special issue on “Voice in Retranslation” in 2015, edited by Alvstad and Assis Rosa.
Building on the young tradition of Retranslation in Context conferences organized at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, (December 2013 and November 2015), we are delighted to announce the Retranslation in Context III Conference (RiC3), to be held at Ghent University (Belgium) on 7th and 8th February 2017.
As was correctly highlighted by Paloposki and Koskinen (2010, 30-31), retranslation is “a field of study that has been touched from many angles but not properly mapped out, and in which there exist a number of intuitive assumptions which have not been thoroughly studied.” The aim of the third RiC conference is to bring together researchers with multidisciplinary backgrounds in order to collect a more comprehensive body of material on retranslation and develop a profound understanding of the processes behind the decision to retranslate. We welcome cases studies on different aspects of retranslation, as well as more methodological approaches. The findings of practice-based research will be confronted with theoretical insights.
Themes that are still insufficiently researched in Translation Studies include the history of literary retranslation and its relationship to the history of literary translation, the role of the different agents involved and the importance of retranslation in the canonization process of world literature. A number of different motives for retranslation have been defined, but some of them (e.g. ageing) lack empirical underpinning. Data are also lacking on the cost-effectiveness of publishers’ investments in retranslations of literary works and on readers’ appreciation of the (expected) improvement. Specific research into the reception of retranslated works could shed some light on that question. In a number of cases translators decide to self-retranslate a text: how is this reflected in the paratext and to what extent is the translator willing to ‘correct’ his/her own translation? Also a number of macro-level issues invite further reflection: do central and peripheral literary systems adopt different policies toward retranslation? Are retranslations fundamentally different from earlier translations, or would it be more accurate to regard them as revisions, and how is this related to questions of authorship and plagiarism?
While research into retranslation has primarily focussed on literary translation, the conference aims at including a range of different genres to broaden the concept. Political and philosophical discourse as well as media discourse actively shape our cultures and mindsets. These types of discourse actively circulate in translation, but they are also sensitive to different kinds of manipulation and censorship prompting the need for retranslation.
We welcome contributions for 20-minute papers addressing any aspects of the above themes. Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Retranslation history and canon(ization)
- Motives for retranslation (ageing, ideology, …)
- Reception of retranslations
- Retranslation in the literary system (centre vs. periphery)
- Retranslation ethics (authorship, plagiarism, copyright)
- Retranslation of media, historical, political, philosophical texts
Alvstad, C., Assis Rosa, A. (2015). “Voice in retranslation. An overview and some trends.” Target 27 (1), 3-24.
Bensimon, P. (1990). “Présentation.” Palimpsestes 4, ix–xiii.
Berman, A. (1990). “La Retraduction comme espace de traduction.” Palimpsestes 4, 1–7.
Brownlie, S. (2006). “Narrative theory and retranslation theory.” Across Languages and Cultures 7 (2), 145-170.
Deane-Cox, S. (2014). Retranslation. Translation, Literature and Reinterpretation. London/New Delhi/New York/Sydney: Bloomsbury.
Koskinen, K., Paloposki, O. (2010). “Retranslation.” In Y. Gambier, L. van Doorslaer (eds) Handbook of Translation Studies, Volume 1. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 294–298.
Paloposki, O., Koskinen, K. (2010). “Reprocessing texts. The Fine Line between Retranslating and Revising.” Across Languages and Cultures 11 (1), 29-49.
Tahir Gürçağlar, Ş. (2009). “Retranslation.” In M. Baker, G. Saldanha (eds) Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Second edition. London/New York: Routledge, 233-236.
Working Languages: English, French and Dutch
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words, in English, French or Dutch, including a short bio note (max. 150 words) to retranslation@UGent.be by 1 July, 2016.
Notification of acceptance: 1 August, 2016.
Please note there will be a conference fee of 100 Euro.
A publication of the proceedings with selected contributions is planned.