Translation Studies

Translation Studies seminar series: Madeleine Campbell

About the seminar

'Translating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders: Intersemiotic Journeys between Media'

By Madeleine Campbell


Translating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders: Intersemiotic Journeys between Media (2019) seeks to examine the theoretical and aesthetic rationale of contemporary intersemiotic practice, to chronicle and reflect on its processes, to examine the socio-cognitive mechanisms at work and to explore its potential for the promotion of cultural literacy.

Intersemiotic translation involves a creative step in which the translator (artist or performer) offers its embodiment in a different medium. This process is facilitated by perceiving and experiencing non-verbal media through visual, auditory and other sensory channels, for example through dance or sculpture. The intersemiotic translator effectively plays the role of mediator in an experiential process that allows the recipients (viewer, listener, reader or participant) to re-create the sense (or “semios”) of the source artefact for themselves (Campbell 2017: 179–80). Intersemiotic translation thereby provides an interactive, participative platform with the potential to engage individuals and communities in connecting with cultures different from their own.

This talk will introduce elements of Translating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders, which gathers contributions from translators, artists, performers, academics and curators who have explored intersemiotic translation in their practice. Drawing on different chapters from the book, I will discuss individual contributors’ critical, experientially-informed and practice-led understanding of intersemiotic translation.

About the speaker 

Born in Toronto, Madeleine Campbell lived in France before settling in Scotland. A freelance researcher and literary translator who teaches at Edinburgh University, she is interested in surrealism and francophone literature and writes ekphrastic and found poetry. Her translations have been published in the University of California Book of North African Literature (2012) and MPT Magazine (2016). More recently her translations of Occitan poet Aurélia Lassaque appeared in Poetry International (Rotterdam 2018).

In a bid to explore the embodied and multi-modal nature of poetry, she translated Algerian Mohammed Dib collaboratively and across disciplines – in words, movement, sonic and visual media ( Arabic Literature). This practice-based research project in intersemiotic translation is documented in the case study Haجar and the Anجel. In 2016 she founded the Special Interest Group on Intersemiotic Translation to research key questions regarding the nature of this practice and its role in fostering cultural literacy and language education.

Her workshop Wozu Image, co-led with artist Laura González, interacted with Minsk-based Sergey Shabohin’s photo exhibition Wozu Poesie, which she curated in Warsaw in May 2017 with the kind permission of Haus für Poesie, Berlin. An account of this workshop, which forms part of the Intersemiotic SIG’s long-term practice-led enquiry, can be found in Open Cultural Studies (2018). Her recent book Translating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders (2019), co-edited with Ricarda Vidal, challenges traditional notions of literary translation through the embodied perspective of practitioners working in a range of media, including dance, film, materials and the visual arts. She spoke on WorldCanvass about translation as participatory process at the University of Iowa’s Reading and Re-Translation Colloquium (2019).

About the seminar series

Each semester, Translation Studies welcomes a fantastic range of guest speakers and colleagues to present a seminar on their work in translation.

Our seminar programme is run collaboratively by staff and postgraduate students, enabling our early career researchers to build networks and experience.

Seminars take place on Wednesday afternoons. Please check individual listings for times and venues.

Entry is free and no booking is required. Everyone is welcome.

Are you interested in Translation Studies at Edinburgh?

With a wide range of languages offered, our one-year taught Masters programme will enhance your practical skills in, and theoretical understanding of, translation as an activity. We also offer a PhD programme.

Find out more

Nov 20 2019 -

Translation Studies seminar series: Madeleine Campbell

'Translating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders: Intersemiotic Journeys between Media'. A free seminar by our colleague Madeleine Campbell (University of Edinburgh)

50 George Square