Degrees of indetermination
in intersemiotic translation
Discussing the problem of ‘intersemiotic translation’ from literature to film Eco (2003) maintains that an adaptation inevitably explicates the unsaid, showing and therefore establishing a point of view precisely where the novel is vaguest. In my opinion a movie can create variable degrees of ‘indetermination’. Its peculiar status as a syncretic semiotic system gives the cinematic text plenty of scope for narrative, ‘figurative’ (i.e. iconic) and discursive implications (Greimas 1984). The audiovisual image may be deliberately open to interpretations and free to not-show and <i>not</i>-say and can create potential elements of indetermination that enable the target text to translate the ambiguities and the semantic open-endedness of the source text. To illustrate these issues of indetermination I will use <i>Smoke</i> by Wayne Wang (USA 1995).