Theories and Practice of Translation – Middlesex University, 5-04-2011


Theories and Practice of Translation 

MA Translation Mini Conference

Middlesex University, London – Hendon Campus, 5 April 2011



Session 1:     9.00/9.45, College Building, room C127

Translating the World’s Voices

Ylenia Gostoli, freelance translator and former Middlesex student

Thanks to recent advances in information technology, ordinary citizens have been improvising themselves reporters, mobilizing crowds and sharing thoughts and opinions through blogs and social media, making information no longer the realm of a few professionals. Global Voices is an online community of bloggers from all over the world, who “digest” and translate the online conversation, focusing on issues and places typically overlooked by mainstream media. Despite the fact that censorship and inequality of access to technology remain a problem, the Internet is increasingly diverse and polyglot. I will discuss how citizen media is shaping global communications, and the crucial role translators play in bridging otherwise disconnected online linguistic communities.


Session 2:        9.45/10.30 – College Building, room C127

British Television Subtitling

Jonathan Howard, freelance television subtitler and former Middlesex student

The talk will cover the following topics: the historical development of audio-visual language transfer, types of audio-visual language transfer and the uses of subtitling; the practical aspects of subtitling (including how subtitling is actually done, choice of font, position of subtitles on screen, time/space constraints, line and sentence breaks); whether subtitling can be considered a form of translation; and working in subtitling. The talk will be illustrated with examples of British television subtitling drawn from the last 30 years of foreign-language TV broadcasts on BBC television and Channel 4.


Session 3:        11.00/12.30  – College Building, room CG20

Elegy and Resilience. Seminar on the Translation of Maggie Butt’s collection Lipstick

Maggie Butt with the students and the tutors of the MA in Theory and Practice of Translation

Maggie Butt is the first guest in a series of seminars which aim to give students and tutors of the MA the opportunity to discuss poets and writers’ work they have been translating during the year. Among the issues that will be analysed are how poetic devices and cultural references, whether cosmopolitan or quintessentially English, in Maggie’s collection Lipstick, can be rendered in languages such as Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Russian, Slovenian and Spanish. The discussion will be placed in the context of Lipstick’s main themes, such as the lucid elegiac terms in which the past is seen as a mirror of the present and how resilience, seen through the examples of women’s courage and passion for life, becomes an inspirational concept for our lives and the world today.


Session 4:        13.00/14.30 :   College Building, room C216

“I’ll roughen it up a bit”: Multiple-Authored Theatre Translations

 Margherita Laera, Middlesex University and Queen Mary 

This paper investigates translation for the stage as an inherently collaborative process, disrupting the generally accepted model of single authorship in translation. I analyse three case studies drawn from my recent experience as theatre translator from English into Italian, which have been informed by collaborative writing and translating. These are a version of Bola Agbaje’s Gone Too Far! (2007), a production of Mohamed Kacimi’s play Letter to the Corinthians (2010) both performed at Milan’s Piccolo Teatro, and a staging of my play Appuntamento dal Ginecologo (2010) performed in Rabat, Morocco. I discuss collaboration with directors, actors and playwrights as critical to the success of any production and on problems of intercultural negotiation that emerged in the three productions, arguing that translating for stage is necessarily a collaborative process. It is useful, therefore, to think of multiple authorship in theatre translation as the norm, rather than the exception.


Travel information

Hendon campus:
The Burroughs
London NW4 4BT
Tel: 020 8411 5000

Travelling via public transport:

  • Underground: Hendon Central (Northern line), then walk.
  • Rail: Hendon, then 183 bus to The Burroughs.
  • Bus: To The Burroughs: 143, 183, and 326.


Abele Longo
Acting Programme Leader for the MA in Theory and Practice of Translation 

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