Guest-speaker: prof. dr. Karen Van Dyck, Hellenic Studies, Columbia University
Respondent: Kate Briggs, writer and translator, Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam
Title: Migration, Translingualism, Translation
Location: University Library (UB), UvA, room: Belle van Zuylenzaal, Singel 425, Amsterdam
Time: 3.30 p.m.
Historical and social developments over the past two centuries have more and more urgently posed the question of how to translate the foreign accents and multilingual idioms of the migrant. Two contemporary Greek novels–one about Greeks in the United States, the other about Greek Albanians in Greece–address this question by developing translingual practices that are themselves translational. Using hybrid creoles that blend languages through transliteration and homophony, these novels imagine translation solutions that challenge the hegemony of standard dialects and monolingualism. The American case foregrounds the visual impenetrability of the new alphabet, while the Balkan case treats sound as a permeable means of encompassing ethnic differences. Existing English translations of each novel reveal a questionable expectation of equivalence and a dehistoricizing tendency; they are contrasted with translations that introduce translingual patterning so as to share images and sounds intra- and interlingually. Attention to translational poetics in the source text enables translators to be more experimental by exposing the instability and ideological import of the translating language. Comparative studies of translingualism in literature and literary translation offer new categories for understanding migration.
Karen Van Dyck is Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Language and Literature at Columbia University. She holds a PhD in Modern Greek Literature from the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, Oxford, 1990. Professor Van Dyck writes and teaches on Modern Greek literature and culture, gender, diaspora and translation. She is the author of Kassandra and the Censors: Greek Poetry since 1967 (Cornell, 1998; in translation Agra 2002) and The Rehearsal of Misunderstanding: Three Collections by Contemporary Greek Women Poets (Wesleyan 1998) and editor of The Scattered Papers of Penelope: New and Selected Poems by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke (Anvil, 2008; Graywolf, 2009), A Lannan Translation Selection. She is co-editor of A Century of Greek Poetry (Cosmos 2004) as well as of The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (Norton, 2009). Besides these projects she has published articles on Diaspora literature, the Language Question, translation and multilingualism. She has directed the Program in Hellenic Studies at Columbia since 1988 and been an active member of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the Center for Literary Translation and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.