Colloquium: Margarida Vale de Gato

Date(s) - 11/01/2018
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

3108 JKB


Margarida Vale de Gato, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbonwill present for the Humanities Center’s weekly colloquium on Thursday, November 1st. The presentation will be held at 3:00 PM in room 4010 JFSB. She will be giving a personal/creative lecture on the relationship between poetry and translation from her own experience as practitioner of both.

Title: “Translation, Transportation, Poetry”

At least three Latin etymons relate to the activity of translation: translatio, removal of a saint’s body or relics to a new place (either the birthplace or holy ground elsewhere); traducere, to drive or carry over; translegere, to bequeath. In Italian, tradurre il ditenuto means that a convict is being transferred to another prison. As an act of transportation, translation both reports and deports.

In translation theory, functional or instrumental models deal with the communicative content of meaning and hence hold on to equivalence of speech acts in the target and source cultures. Hermeneutic approaches, on the contrary, foreground “the force of an interpretation” as an epistemology of alternatives, a negotiation of difference that requires the language of translation to struggle with the replacement of “the chain of signifiers” (Venuti) and to resist and subsist in the dissent of signification.

This presentation will use poems on translation, translated poems, and reflexive commentary on the kind of knowledge brought by the practice of translating poetry — in the words of Reginald Gibbons,  “a poetic mode of thought rather than a discursive one” — advocating a mindfulness both of the experience of the source-language and of the superimposed, often competing, language of the poem. It will also tackle the idea of the translator as a “Romantic pragmatist,” restoring an admired palimpsest with finite labour and disciplined creativity. The final park of the talk will be devoted to “the crutches of craft,” with the enumeration of the best practices that the speaker feels she has learned as a poetry translator with twenty years of experience.

Refreshments will be served.

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