CFP: The Issue of Discursive Coherence: Translation and Homogenisation

The Issue of Discursive Coherence: Translation and Homogenisation
Palimpsestes 26 / Conference: 12-13 October 2012

Recreating the balance of a literary text in translation means that the discursive space be taken into account as a whole and that the issue of homogenisation, which affects any translative process, be addressed. How do we translate texts that are based on a principle of plurality, dispersion or rupture? Does the translative process heighten or lessen such stylistic and narrative traits? What about Lawrence Venuti’s heterogenising approach which is meant to reduce the ethnocentrism prevalent in translation?
On a linguistic level, the contacts between languages in areas and countries where bilingualism prevails could be examined, as could the instances when different age groups or social classes interact. John Lyons’s “fiction of homogeneity” relative to speakers of the same linguistic community could be looked at in relation to the manner in which it manifests itself in translation and in the critique of translation. Moreover, it would also be interesting to test the well-documented principle of homogeneity of the English language, in which, we are told, an inanimate subject and an animate predicate do not fare well together as compared to what takes place in the French language.

On a socio-critical level, the possible editorial reasons behind such textual and stylistic homogenising could be a further matter of investigation. In what ways, for instance, do the audiences and markets aimed at by the publishers or editors commissioning translations influence the process of homogenisation? Does the separation of audiences (young readers, high brow audience, mainstream audience, and so on) lead to retranslations or competing translations of the same texts? What happens when one author’s oeuvre is translated by different translators, both diachronically and synchronically?

Finally, on a socio-historic level, it might be useful to investigate the ways in which translations and transcultural transfers generate a rather homogeneous—or on the contrary heterogeneous—vision of other/foreign cultures.

Proposals (a half-page summary in English or French) plus a short CV should be sent, by 15th April 2012 at the latest to:
Christine Raguet                                                                        Pascale Sardin                                                  

Université Sorbonne nouvelle – Paris 3
Institut du Monde Anglophone
5, rue de l’École de Médecine
75006 Paris


About Erica Mena

Erica Mena is a Puerto Rican poet, translator, and book artist. Pronouns: they/them.
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