Metaglossia: The Translation World
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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
Curated by Charles Tiayon
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Self-translation: CfP: Self-Translation in the Iberian Peninsula

elf-Translation in the Iberian PeninsulaUniversity College Cork, Cork, Ireland, 20-21 September 2013 During recent years self-translation has received growing scholarly attention, analysing the double bilingual and bicultural affiliations of the author-translators, their ideological stances, the stylistic, spatial and temporary reworking and adaptation of the ST, self-censorship or deliberate omissions and expansions. The multilingual and diglossic situation in the Iberian Peninsula offers a perfect intercultural and intracultural milieu to examine the political, cultural and economic implications and consequences of self-translation. Indeed, the interactions between official state languages (Portuguese and Spanish) and non-state languages (Basque, Catalan and Galician) generate a seriesof cultural and linguistic tensions affecting notions of hegemony and interdependency between literary polysystems. This may be further problematized by the fact that some self-translations are presented as originals themselves, with both versions ‘competing’ with each other in the same book market, or by the fact that the self-translator’s autonomy to modify the ST for the target audience is less constrained than that of professional translators.!
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Self-translation: Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu
Ouyang Yu is the first self-translator in my data base who is living in Australia. Born in China in 1955, he moved to Australia in 1991 as a PhD student and is currently working as a writer and translator in Melbourne. He is writing in Chinese and English and has published over 50 works (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, literary criticism, translations) so far.

A bilingual collection of his poetry with the title Self Translation has recently been published by Transit Lounge Publishing. According to his homepage "it is a collection of poems originally written in Chinese, across a span of more than 20 years, that Ouyang translated into English himself, which were later published in such English-speaking countries as Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Canada." (

In 2012 he had published another bilingual collection Bilingual Love: Poems from 1975-2008, but although the English and Chinese poems are printed on facing pages,they are against all expectations not original and translation but truly different poems. (

For more information on the author, take a look at his homepage.
As an example of his poetry, I suggest to read the poem "Translating Myself".!
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Anil Pinto: An Interrogation of Translation Studies through Self-translation

Reading More Intimately: An Interrogation of Translation Studies through Self-translation

Anil Joseph Pinto
Dept of English and Media Studies, Christ University, Bangalore

(Published in Salesian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol 3, No 1, May 2012. Pp 66-73)

While the poststructural turn has made the study of translation more self-reflexive, it has not made translation studies scholars rethink the fundamental assumptions of translation process, which poststructuralism should have. As a result, many practices in the nature of ‘translation’ have not only got marginalised but have got relegated to absence, within translation studies. One such practice is self-translation. This paper tries to read the process of self-translation closely and thereby raise critical questions on the fundamental assumptions about translation. The paper will conclude by positing self-translation as an important domain for scholarly engagement by drawing attention to its potential to make translation studies more nuanced.!
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Samuel Beckett, el último modernista

La proverbial sequedad y ensimismamiento de Beckett, reforzados por el papel hosco y huidizo que quiso representar a raíz de la obtención del Nobel, no condicen del todo con su fluida amalgama de amistades

No es frecuente empezar la reseña de un libro por una mención de su traductor; pero, en el caso de esta biografía de Samuel Beckett, el responsable de su versión al castellano fue el recientemente fallecido Miguel Martínez-Lage, Premio Nacional de Traducción e impagable divulgador de la literatura en lengua inglesa en nuestro país. Más allá del necesario homenaje, no parece del todo impropia la mención, porque la primera cuestión que nos plantea la lectura de esta biografía es, precisamente, un problema terminológico, que seguro que mereció más de una cavilación al malogrado traductor. ¿No hubiera sido mejor, en efecto, haber traducido modernist por “vanguardista”, atendiendo al preciso valor que este término tiene en las literaturas anglosajonas, y no por “modernista”, que, como es sabido, designa en castellano un período artístico anterior? La respuesta, el motivo de la decisión finalmente adoptada, posiblemente esté en el texto del propio Anthony Cronin, autor de esta detallada y a ratos, por qué no decirlo, prolija biografía.!
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The Benefits of Being Bilingual

Samuel Beckett, born in a suburb of Dublin in 1906, was a native English speaker. However, in 1946 Beckett decided that he would begin writing exclusively in French. After composing the first draft in his second language, he would then translate these words back into English. This difficult constraint – forcing himself to consciously unpack his own sentences – led to a burst of genius, as many of Beckett’s most famous works (Malloy, Malone Dies, Waiting for Godot, etc.) were written during this period. When asked why he wrote first in French, Beckett said it made it easier for him to “write without style.”

Beckett would later expand on these comments, noting that his use of French prevented him from slipping into his usual writerly habits, those crutches of style that snuck into his English prose. Instead of relying on the first word that leapt into consciousness – that most automatic of associations – he was forced by his second language to reflect on what he actually wanted to express. His diction became more intentional.!
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