Translation Studies

About the event

'Whose voice is it anyway? Reflecting on voice in a translation and interpreting context' brought together translation and interpreting scholars, and a writer in conversation with his translator to explore the meaning of voice in originals and translations.

Speakers included Rebecca Tipton (University of Manchester) on interpreting in situations of conflict, Charlotte Bosseaux (University of Edinburgh) on the impact of dubbing on performance and Theo Hermans (University College London) on the positioning of translators. Their talks were followed by a round table chaired by Kari Dickson (translator and teaching fellow, University of Edinburgh). The evening finished with a conversation between Scottish Crime Fiction writer Christopher Brookmyre and his German translator, Hannes Meyer.

Audience feedback

What's your take-home message from the event?

I think that whenever I encounter something in translation, whether it’s a translated book or perhaps subtitling in movies or something, I think I will be much more aware of the concept of the voice. So I think that would be much more present for me in the future.

That there is no such a thing as a faithful translation and that there is no such a thing as a neutral translation.

Chris Brookmyre said the author is hostage to the translator- do translators/interpreters wield such power?!

How your understanding of voice has changed

I am a translator so I am confronted with the issue of voice on a daily basis. This event however made me consider how many different aspects and ideas need to be considered in rendering a translation. No one size fits all and even if you translate every day, you must treat each project individually.

What it has done, it has given me other aspects of voice to think about. Because I think as a practising translator, you are always aware that, you know, you have a voice, or you are looking for a voice in what you are translating. Even if it is just a business text, obviously that has a voice, because you have got a certain readership that you are aiming it at. So I think what it has done, it has made me think about voice more and perhaps gave me some ideas about the positioning of the translator.

I was aware, having been translated, of some of the issues around it, but listening to the talks beforehand, specifically with regards to the issue of dubbing, made me think very specifically about how there are so many more elements to it. That is not just the language. So that was a whole area I had not thought about before with regards to translation.