The multimodal dimensions of translation

camelcamel 2.png

Start:    MONDAY May 20,   2019 05:00 PM
End:     MONDAY May 20,   2019 06:30 PM

Location: Room 803, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Dr Marcus Tomalin from the University of Cambridge will discuss the practical and theoretical challenges of translating ‘texts’ comprising multimodal ensembles of image and writing.

What are the strategic decisions that a translator needs to make when translating both image and writing from one sociocultural and linguistic context into another? How should the translator best handle the various modes involved?

The discussion will focus on Le Bestiaire ou Cortège d’Orphée (The Bestiary: Or Orpheus’s Procession; 1911). This book belongs to the genre of ‘livre d’artiste’, a kind of illustrated text which includes visual images (e.g., woodcuts, lithographs) as well as writing. This particular livre d’artiste emerged from a collaboration involving the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire and the Fauvist artist Raoul Dufy.

The analysis will consider the illustrated poem “Le Dromadaire” (“The Arabian Camel”), and it will reflect on how translators ‘orchestrate’ multimodal ensembles. Drawing upon the theory and practice of translation studies, multimodality, and linguistics, Dr Tomalin will introduce a quasi-mathematical formalism that clarifies the nature of multimodal translation. The discussion will reveal how the multimodal dimensions of the original ‘text’ (i.e., the source ensemble of image and writing) are reconstituted to create a target ensemble by the translator who makes strategic decisions about which modes to prioritise.

About the presenter

Dr Marcus Tomalin has been a member of the Machine Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Cambridge since the 1990s. He is interested in the relationship between natural language, mathematics, and philosophy, and his many publications include Linguistics and the Formal Sciences (CUP, 2006), Romanticism and Linguistic Theory: William Hazlitt, Language, and Literature (Palgrave, 2009), “And he knew our language”: Missionary Linguistics on the Pacific Northwest Coast (John Benjamins, 2011), and The French Language and British Literature, 1756-1830 (Routledge, 2016).

Image 1: ‘Le Dromadaire’, Raoul Dufy. Gift of the Reva and David Logan Foundation

Image 2: The Dromedary, by Marcus Tomalin


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s