Current PhD/Research MA students

Nermeen Al Nafra
Developing Translators’ Skills

One of the main concerns in current approaches to translation training is to provide translators with the necessary skills in order to take responsibility for their decisions. Taking into consideration the calls for different translation training approaches in order to equip translators with the theoretical knowledge of translation to empower them in their role as cultural mediators, this study will investigate how and to what extent following a training programme at postgraduate level affects trainee translators’ ability to defend and justify their decisions. This study is based on the hypothesis that translation training and translation theory equip trainees with a level of competence which enables them to systemise their options while translating and justify their choices. This study will attempt to demonstrate to what extent trainee translators integrate the theoretical knowledge acquired throughout the course into translation practice. It focuses on the translation strategies used by trainee translators to identify translation problems and the justification of the decisions made. The one year masters degree programme in Translation Studies at the University of Birmingham is used to undertake this qualitative research. Data will be collected at different stages throughout the academic year (2012-2013). The research methods used in this longitudinal case study consist primarily of a translation task completed by trainee translators. This task is preceded by a short questionnaire and retrospective interviews. This is followed by a textual analysis using linguistic and discourse text analysis models.

Asmaa Alduhaim
Cross Cultural Political Discourse Translation

The research will conduct a comparative analysis of the translation outcome of three different countries. The analysis will start with a detailed study of the political discourse in each country, followed by the analysis of the translation carried out by the media.

Waleed Alsubhi
Translation of intertextual metaphors in contemporary Arabic novels into English

The main source of difficulty in translating metaphors arises from the fact that metaphors are mainly associated with “indirectness” (Green, 1989, p. 124). This indirectness seems to increase in metaphors that involve references to previous cultural knowledge. Metaphors of this kind, which are referred to as ‘intertextual metaphors’, represent certain ideas by adopting references from literature, culture, history and/or heritage resources. Intertextual metaphors differ from other types of metaphors in many aspects.

The necessity to consider other types of metaphors that are more complicated and creative, such as intertextual metaphors, when researching metaphor translation seems even more relevant in the case of literary metaphors. This is because metaphors in a literary context “explicitly appeal to cultural traditions (e.g. through intertextual allusions)” (Biebuyck & Martens, 2011, p. 59). Numerous metaphor studies show that metaphors are essential literary devices in literary texts, particularly in fiction (see, e.g. Kruger, 1993; Al Salem, 2014).

Given the omnipresence of metaphor and intertextuality in novels and their essential literary functions in these types of texts, studying intertextual metaphors in the translation of novels could provide fresh and invaluable insights. After examining the present studies on the translation of metaphor, it seems that the current number of studies discussing intertextual metaphor in the translation of novels is still very inadequate. Therefore, my thesis will attempt to fill part of the gap in knowledge in this area by analysing Arabic intertextual metaphors and their English translations, which will be derived from a number of Arabic novels and their published English translations.

Jennifer Arnold
Translating National Identity: the Translation and Reception of Catalan Literature into English

My PhD examines the reception of Catalan national and cultural identity in translation. Drawing on approaches from descriptive translation studies, sociological approaches to translation and reception studies, it examines how the factors involved in the translation process affect the way real readers receive and interpret Catalan identity. Firstly the study explores the role of translation in the promotion of Catalan culture and identity outside of Spain. It examines the role of cultural institutions and cultural policy in order to demonstrate the priority given to the translation of Catalan literature, particularly into English, as a gateway to international recognition. This is then followed by two case studies of Catalan novels in translation which focus, not only on a textual analysis of the source and target texts, but also an overview of the conditions surrounding the translation and publication of the books, including the role of translators, editors and promotional campaigns. The final part of the study examines the reception of the novels, in particular on the way readers respond to ideas of Catalan identity. The reception is considered from the perspective of the media, the online presence and finally real readers in the form of reading groups and considers the extent to which, if at all, one informs the other. To conclude the thesis offers an evaluation of the extent to which the translation of Catalan literature achieves the goal of promoting Catalan culture and suggests ways in which the use of the methodology applied in this case could inform further research in Translation  Studies into the way that translations and therefore other cultures are read and received.

Matthew Chozick
Translating Japan's cultural Cache into International Cachet: A Study of Post-Meiji 'Reverse-Importation' from The Tale of Genji to Puffy AmiYumi

 

My PhD examines the reception of Catalan national and cultural identity in translation. Drawing on approaches from descriptive translation studies, sociological approaches to translation and reception studies, it examines how the factors involved in the translation process affect the way real readers receive and interpret Catalan identity. Firstly the study explores the role of translation in the promotion of Catalan culture and identity outside of Spain. It examines the role of cultural institutions and cultural policy in order to demonstrate the priority given to the translation of Catalan literature, particularly into English, as a gateway to international recognition. This is then followed by two case studies of Catalan novels in translation which focus, not only on a textual analysis of the source and target texts, but also an overview of the conditions surrounding the translation and publication of the books, including the role of translators, editors and promotional campaigns. The final part of the study examines the reception of the novels, in particular on the way readers respond to ideas of Catalan identity. The reception is considered from the perspective of the media, the online presence and finally real readers in the form of reading groups and considers the extent to which, if at all, one informs the other. To conclude the thesis offers an evaluation of the extent to which the translation of Catalan literature achieves the goal of promoting Catalan culture and suggests ways in which the use of the methodology applied in this case could inform further research in Translation  Studies into the way that translations and therefore other cultures are read and received.

Galateia Dimitriou
Ezra Pound in Greece, 1935-2005

Using Ezra Pound's translations in Greek as a starting point, this thesis looks at Pound's reception in Greece with a particular focus on George Seferis and contemporary poets.

Publications

  • Translation (in Greek) of George Oppen's 'The Mind's own place' in Poietiki, Issue 3, Patakis, Athens, 2009.

Lorena Gavazzoni
Comics in Italy: Influences, Adaptations and Fascist Exploitation of the genre in a historical perspective

Combining research perspectives and methods pertaining to Cultural Studies and a historical analysis of Fascist policies in the publishing industry, my research will illustrate the evolution of this genre in relation to contemporary cultural transformations shedding further light on a series of unexplored transition moments in the development of Italian comics. Or, in comic hero Tex Willer’s words: “There are still many chestnuts on the fire: let’s burn our fingers!”

Anne M. Leahy
Paths to Signed Language Interpreting in Great Britain and America since 1150 AD

The scant scholarship at the nexus of signed language interpreting and translation history in Anglophone countries tends toward memoir and folklore, and focuses on the perspective of the deaf party. My research pivots toward the interpreter’s perspective, investigating the linguistic and social foundations of how lay bilingual-bimodals began to function as intermediaries between hearing and deaf primary interlocutors. Also, I analyze surviving records to discover the salient features in the work of untrained interpreters, given the limitations of a visual modality which could not have been precisely transcribed.

I maintain a record of research dissemination at anneleahy.com/pubs.

Ira Ortigosa Pascual
Basque language cinema: lost in translation?

Cinema has always been an important medium for putting into words a society’s identity and culture. But in today’s globalized society, where the majority of the films are filmed and/or distributed in major languages, more regional industries struggle to make an international name for themselves. This is particularly difficult in bilingual nations with complex political statuses such as the Basque Country. Audiovisual translation has played a very important part in linguistic normalization, and the Basque population has been able to enjoy different foreign programmes and films translated into Basque. But despite the governmental help, original Basque-language films do not reach the broad audience they deserve and many times it is assumed the source language is what hinders this industry. Basque films relay on subtitling and dubbing to show themselves to the rest of the world, but does the audiovisual translation do them justice?

This audiovisual translation research will cover linguistic and metalinguistic aspects. It will analyse the linguistic accuracy of the translations, that is, the conveyance of the message, the translation of language-specific constructions and sayings etc. and the metalinguistic aspect, focusing on the conveyance of Basque culture, society and identity through the language. Based on five case studies of different genres, this research will analyse the accuracy of the audiovisual translation in order to conclude whether any of the techniques is culturally and linguistically accurate and whether they help or hinder the small but growing industry of Basque cinema.

Waleed Ahmad Othman
A Systemic Functional and Relevance-Theoretic Approach to Explicitation in Translated Arabic

I am studying explicitational shifts manifested by clause augmentation (insertions and alterations of adjuncts related to location, manner, and cause) in translated Arabic based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). Using a data set comprising an English novel (Lord of the Flies) and three Arabic translations, I propose an SFL-based model for the identification of lexicogrammatical shifts and delimiting those that can be considered optionally explicitational. My proposed model is based on three parameters.

  1. The parameter of systemic possibility, which makes use of the notion of Choice in SFL, determines whether a translation shift is optional or non-optional.
  2. Local instantiation is a parameter that determines whether a shift is explicitational or not based on a shift’s traceability to the linguistic context, the physical context, the socio-cultural context, and/or translator’s assumptions. Systemic possibility and local instantiation are micro-level analysis parameters that determine the optionality and explicitational nature of individual shifts between the ST and the TT, regardless of their congruency with the typical patterning or norms of the TL or a specific TL register.
  3. Global instantiation. Global instantiation is a macro-level parameter that is applied on the text for the evaluation of the global effect of explicitational shifts in order to determine whether that text features more explicitness than is typical in the TL or a TL specific register.

It is not enough to depend on systemic possibility and local instantiation in determining whether a TT is optionally explicit and how explicit it is to the target readership. This is because a shift can be optionally explicitational as an individual instance and at the same time contribute, together with other similar shifts, towards congruency of the TT in terms of explicitness.

Helen Tatlow
The works of Heinrich von Kleist and their translation into English

Supervised by Dr Elystan Griffiths and Dr Hilary Brown

I am researching English translations of Heinrich von Kleist's play, Der Prinz von Homburg. I shall provide an overview of the reception of the play in the English-speaking world and consider in depth the reception and effectiveness of a selection of the translations, with detailed analysis of sections that pose particular challenges to the translator.