Poetry Translating as Expert Action

Processes, priorities and networks

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Poetry is a highly valued form of human expression, and poems are challenging texts to translate. For both reasons, people willingly work long and hard to translate them, for little pay but potentially high personal satisfaction. This book shows how experienced poetry translators translate poems and bring them to readers, and how they not only shape new poems, but also help communicate images of the source culture. It uses cognitive and sociological translation-studies methods to analyse real data, most of it from two contrasting source countries, the Netherlands and Bosnia. Case studies, including think-aloud studies, analyse how translators translate poems. In interviews, translators explain why and how they translate. And a 17-year survey of a country’s poetry-translation output explores how translators work within networks of other people and texts – publishing teams, fellow translators, source-culture enthusiasts, and translation readers and critics. In mapping the whole sweep of poetry translators’ action, from micro-cognitive to macro-social, this book gives the first translation-studies overview of poetry translating since the 1970s.

Subjects: Theoretical literature & literary studies; Translation studies

  • Affiliations: 1: Newcastle University

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