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Language and Linguistics > Translation Studies

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Video Relay Service Interpreters Cover

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Video Relay Service Interpreters

Intricacies of Sign Language Access

Jeremy L. Brunson

“Signed language interpreting is about access,” states author Jeremy L. Brunson at the outset of his new book, and no manifestation of access for deaf people can be considered more complex than video relay services (VRS). In Video Relay Service Interpreters: Intricacies of Sign Language Access, Brunson delineates exactly how complicated the service can be, first by analyzing sign language interpreting as a profession and its relation to both hearing and deaf clients. He describes how sign language interpreters function in Deaf communities and how regulatory processes imposed by VRS providers can constrain communication access based on each individual’s needs. Brunson proceeds by acclimating readers to the environment of VRS and how the layout of the typical physical plant alters the practice of interpreting. The focus then falls upon intended VRS users, providing insights into their expectations. Interpreters shared their experiences with Brunson in 21 formal interviews and discussions. Many remarked on the differences between face-to-face interpreting and VRS training, which often runs counter to the concept of relating informally with deaf clients as a way to expand access. This thoughtful, sociological study outlines texts that originate between users and interpreters and how they can be used to develop VRS access. Video Relay Service Interpreters concludes with the implications of VRS interpreting for sign language interpreting in general and suggests where scholarship will lead in the future.

Worlding Sei Shônagon Cover

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Worlding Sei Shônagon

The Pillow Book in Translation

Valerie Henitiuk

The Makura no Sôshi, or The Pillow Book as it is generally known in English, is a collection of personal reflections and anecdotes about life in the Japanese royal court composed around the turn of the eleventh century by a woman known as Sei Shônagon. Its opening section, which begins haru wa akebono, or “spring, dawn,” is arguably the single most famous passage in Japanese literature.

Throughout its long life, The Pillow Book has been translated countless times. It has captured the European imagination with its lyrical style, compelling images and the striking personal voice of its author. Worlding Sei Shônagon guides the reader through the remarkable translation history of The Pillow Book in the West, gathering almost fifty translations of the “spring, dawn” passage, which span one-hundred-and-thirty-five years and sixteen languages. Many of the translations are made readily available for the first time in this study.

The versions collected in Worlding Sei Shônagon are an enlightening example of the many ways in which translations can differ from their source text, undermining the idea of translation as the straightforward transfer of meaning from one language to another, one culture to another. By tracing the often convoluted trajectory through which a once wholly foreign literary work becomes domesticated—or resists domestication—this compilation also exposes the various historical, ideological or other forces that inevitably shape our experience of literature, for better or for worse.

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Writing between the Lines

Portraits of Canadian Anglophone Translators

The essays in Writing between the Lines explore the lives of twelve of Canada’s most eminent anglophone literary translators, and delve into how these individuals have contributed to the valuable process of literary exchange between francophone and anglophone literatures in Canada.

Through individual portraits, this book traces the events and life experiences that have led W.H. Blake, John Glassco, Philip Stratford, Joyce Marshall, Patricia Claxton, Doug Jones, Sheila Fischman, Ray Ellenwood, Barbara Godard, Susanne de Lotbinire-Harwood, John Van Burek, and Linda Gaboriau into the complex world of literary translation. Each essay-portrait examines why they chose to translate and what linguistic and cultural challenges they have faced in the practice of their art. Following their relationships with authors and publishers, the translators also reveal how they have defined the goals and the process of literary translation.

Containing original, detailed biographical and bibliographical material, Writing between the Lines offers many new insights into the literary translation process, and the diverse roles of the translator as social agent. The first text on Canadian translators, it makes a major contribution in the areas of literary translation, comparative literature, Canadian literature, and cultural studies.

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Writing in Tongues

Translating Yiddish in the Twentieth Century

by Anita Norich

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Yoko Tawada's Portrait of a Tongue

An Experimental Translation by Chantal Wright

Yoko Tawada

Yoko Tawada's Portrait of a Tongue: An Experimental Translation by Chantal Wright is a hybrid text, innovatively combining literary criticism, experimental translation, and scholarly commentary. This work centres on a German-language prose text by Yoko Tawada entitled ‘Portrait of a Tongue’ [‘Porträt einer Zunge’, 2002]. Yoko Tawada is a native speaker of Japanese who learned German as an adult.

Portrait of a Tongue is a portrait of a German woman—referred to only as P—who has lived in the United States for many years and whose German has become inflected by English. The text is the first-person narrator’s declaration of love for P and for her language, a ‘thinking-out-loud’ about language(s), and a self-reflexive commentary.

Chantal Wright offers a critical response and a new approach to the translation process by interweaving Tawada’s text and the translator’s dialogue, creating a side-by-side reading experience that encourages the reader to move seamlessly between the two parts. Chantal Wright’s technique models what happens when translators read and responds to calls within Translation Studies for translators to claim visibility, to practice “thick translation”, and to develop their own creative voices. This experimental translation addresses a readership within the academic disciplines of Translation Studies, Germanic Studies, and related fields.

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