Karin Bosshard

Thesis title: Translating heteroglossia in contemporary Scottish fiction into German - the case of Ian Stephen's 'A Book of Death and Fish' from a theoretical and practical perspective

Background

After completing a BA in Multilingual Communication/Translation at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Karin moved to Scotland where she studied for an MSc in Translation at Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, graduating with distinction in 2011. After a time spent as an in-house translator, Karin worked as a freelance translator (English/French into German) for a number of years. She started her part-time PhD in 2016 and is also a part-time Teaching Fellow in Translation Studies at the University of Edinburgh.  

Karin’s research focuses on literary translation and on how translation theory and translation practice inform each other. Employing A Book of Death and Fish (2014) by Hebridean writer Ian Stephen as a case in point, she investigates variation through the prism of literary stylistics, sociolinguistics and translation studies. In her thesis, she suggests a model for reconstructing the heteroglot nature of Stephen’s novel – written in an idiosyncratic blend of Scottish English, Hebridean dialect, Scots and Gaelic – and then tests the model by translating an extended extract into German. Through an iterative practice-based methodology, her thesis challenges current theoretical positions on the translation of linguistic varieties: firstly that linguistic variation, in particular when caused by regional dialects, is a “problem” (and an unsolvable one at that) in translation and secondly that using geographical target language varieties is not a workable translation approach. By applying the translation model to a real case, Karin’s thesis also aims to shed new light on the role of the translator-researcher and the function of translation practice as a research tool. 

Qualifications

BA in Multilingual Communication/Translation from Zurich University of Applied Sciences (2009)

MSc in Translation and Computer-Assisted Translation Tools from Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, awarded with distinction (2011)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Co-organiser of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series at University of Edinburgh (academic years 2017/18 and 2018/19)

Qualified Member (MITI) of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), deputy convenor of ITI Scottish Network (ITI ScotNet) 2018-2021

Member of the German association of literary translators (VdÜ)

Member of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST)

Postgraduate teaching

Karin is a part-time Teaching Fellow in Translation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. For more information on her teaching responsibilities, please see https://www.edweb.ed.ac.uk/profile/karinbosshard.

Research summary

Literary translation, contemporary Scottish literature, translation of linguistic variation, interaction between translation theory and translation practice, translation as a creative practice, heteroglossia, Bakhtinian theories of language, sociolinguistics, stylistics and translation

Papers delivered

"Translating linguistic variation in contemporary Scottish fiction – ​a practice-based PhD project". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2016/17, University of Edinburgh, 15 February 2017.

"Applying Antoine Berman’s “Analytic of Translation” to translating linguistic variation in contemporary Scottish fiction". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2018/19, University of Edinburgh, 16 January 2019.

"Translating heteroglossia in contemporary Scottish fiction – a Bakhtinian perspective". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2019/20, University of Edinburgh, 5 February 2020.

"Dialect in contemporary Scottish fiction in translation – enabling fluidity and disrupting the flow". Paper delivered at the Postgraduate Conference in Translation Studies and Comparative Literature (University of Glasgow) "Fluidity", 13 May 2020, held online.

"A Stornoway cove and a Broch quine – thoughts on regional voices, identity and attitudes to language in Ian Stephen’s A Book of Death and Fish". Presentation as part of the Language in Context seminar series (University of Edinburgh School of Philosophy, Psychology and Languages Sciences – Linguistics and English Language). 23rd October 2020, held online.

"Literary dialect as a constraint and creative opportunity - thoughts on translating north-east Scots into German". Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2020/21. University of Edinburgh, 10 March 2021, held online.

“A stroll down the hoil for a fry of mogs and skeds” – the Stornoway voices of Ian Stephen’s 'A Book of Death and Fish' in German translation”. Presentation as part of the Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster (FRLSU) Conference, Munich. Held online 28-30 October 2021.     

“Translating heteroglossia in contemporary Scottish fiction – exploring the use of target language dialects as a translation strategy”. Presentation as part of the Translation Studies Research Seminar Series 2021/22. University of Edinburgh, 10 November 2021, held online. 

"Über Hummer reden" (Das Narr 31, Basel, April 2021). Translation into German of "Talking about Lobsters" by Victoria MacKenzie (New Writing Scotland 34, ASLS, Glasgow, 2016)