Translation should seek to make the exploration of other languages essential to our own enjoyment....
It is the function of translation to change the geography of languages.
Professor Clive Smith came to Edinburgh to give a lecture on translation as a philosophy. He stressed the importance of engaging in an intense reading of the text. Then he took issue with the traditional choice-making that translators resort to, asserting the need to include all the possible ways of translating a text. He envisaged a meta-language, which languages could slip and slide in and out of, thereby enabling a real engagement with source texts. Then he showed us some pictorial translations, which opened up further possibilities for translators... Here's one of mine.
Aria Alba Opera for All in rehearsal in Greyfriars kirk
from the Exeter Book
I speak by one mouth a feast of tongues
sing through modulations changing quick
a heady voice crying out loud my tune
carry my way resound without refrain as
an old evening-bard to courtiers brings
merriment to settlements when I alighting
shout my voice to homes they quietly sit there nodding.
So tell what I am called who like a showgirl jest
and imitate with gusto cabaret promising men
much to welcome with my voice.
What am I?
Translated from Old English by Evan Klavon
Poetry in Translation
Double monasteries were places where nuns and monks lived in the same institution, though generally in separate parts. They were quite common in the early middle ages, as communities of women needed men to farm their lands and do the heavy work. I have translated various texts on this subject, and was pleased to see this article in History Today
These ladies can be found on Conques cathedral....
The double monasteries of Anglo-Saxon England have attracted the attention of historians recently, particularly those with an interest in womens' studies, because of the importance of their abbesses...
A fascinating account of Fabienne Verdier's calligraphy studies in China during the 1980s - her teacher told her not to worry about the meaning of the characters she was learning to draw... because that would distract her from the real task of learning how to trace the shape.
She is currently planning a huge exhibition at the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, March to August 2013
These islands we sing... a wonderful anthology of poetry from the Scottish Islands, a Christmas present which is full of delights. Poems in Gaelic are translated into English, but some of the poems in Scots or Shetlandic are pretty impenetrable too, and could do with a praecis, at least!
Books: These Islands, We Sing
‘Rich and diverse anthology of old and new voices from the margins of the nation … themes of love, space and place run throughout’ – The ShetlandBooks from Birlinn and Polygon