After presenting you some absolutely captivating presentations given at the Sydney Symposium on Literary Translation, it’s time for me to show off a little bit as we get to Panel Two, which included yours truly.
The panel’s title was “Styles of Translation,” vague enough to allow three very distinctive presentations.
The highlight of the panel, and possibly of the whole symposium, was the amazing presentation given by Chris Andrews (25:10 – 45:30), the mastermind behind the Symposium, whom I thank once again for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a unique event. An extremely talented translator, poet and academic, Chris talked about coherence and cohesion, sense and nonsense addressed a very interesting challenge translators face. Elaborating on Shoshana Blum-Kulka’s assertion that translations tend to be more explicit than their originals, Chris analysed the tendency to make sense of nonsense, as well as the possibility of doing the opposite. Furthermore, he explored the relationship of these shifts to the process of composition. To illustrate his captivating point, he used material by César Aira’s book on Edward Lear.
Thon-That Quynh-Du (46:00 – 1:09:11) shared his views on how the translator’s personal taste influences almost every choice. Du does not only refer to stylistic choice in a translation, but to the very choice of the texts and the authors we translate, a practice that it is a lot more common in the anglophone world. He also shared his experience of translating Pham Thi Hoai, whose novel Crystal Messenger, translated by Du himself, won the 2000 Victorian Premier’s Award for best literary translation.
As for yours truly, a humble craftsman among scholars, I tried to stick to what I do, and I think I do well. So, I focused on practice rather than delving into theories, and particularly on the issue of dialects, idiolects and sociolects in translation. I was inspired to do so by the many meanings of the tricky word “style” to see how different styles of a language – as in personal, regional and social varieties – require us to find our style as translators. Translating dialects and sociolects shows how the same style – meaning variety – might require different translation styles in different contexts. You can read the paper I used as a guide to my presentation here: Encounters with dialects, idiolects and sociolects in translation.