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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Francis Jones
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Ivan V. Lalić (1931-1996) is one of the most widely-translated Serbian poets, with seven book-length English translations to date, including five by the present author. In this chapter, the author analyses his own engagement with Lalić’s work, presenting a reflexive case study of how the critical reception of published poetry translations interacts with the translator’s motivation and real-time translating processes. After surveying the published English translations of Lalić’s work, the chapter chronicles the author’s forty-year involvement in translating Lalić’s poems, up to and including the English Collected Poems on which the author is now working. The first main section shows how reviews of the author’s translations by critics and informal web reviewers testify to Lalić’s status as a major European poet. These are seen as confirming the author’s initial motivation for translating Lalić, but also as providing motivation for further translations. Support from the UK commissioning publisher, and from literary actors in the source culture, are mentioned as additional motivators. The second main section outlines the processes involved in translating two of Lalić’s poems, one in free verse and one with rhyme and rhythm, drawing on evidence both from the author’s draft translations and from ‘think-aloud’ recordings while the author is translating. Among the themes are: the translator’s concern with building a coherent mental schema of the poem’s ‘text world’ (Stockwell 2002: 75-81,136-147) on the basis of textual clues and (re)constructed authorial experience; the author’s conviction that both text world and sound are central to the poem’s ‘message’; and how conveying this message to target readers in an effective English-language poem involves a laborious process of compromise between semantically-close and creative decisions. In this, the author’s experience reflects that reported for other recent translators of poetry (see e.g. Jones 2011). The conclusion discusses the study’s wider implications for poetry translation, with reference to two key concepts. One is the long-term ‘dedication’ (after Zabic and Kamenish 2006) by many literary translators to communication between two cultures, which involves participating in networks of human and textual actors. The other is the translator’s ethic of ‘loyalty’ to both source writer and target reader (Nord 2001: 200).
Author(s): Jones FR
Publication type: Book Chapter
Publication status: Published
Book Title: Srpska književnost 20 veka: poetika prevođenja i interkulturno istraživanje [Serbian Literature of the 20th Century: Poetics of Translation, and Intercultural Research]
Acceptance date: 20/11/2015
Publisher: Instituta za književnost i umetnost
Place Published: Belgrade
Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item