Can music inspire translators?
Using background music as a trigger for narrative engagement in literary translation
This article examines the role of musically-triggered narrative engagement in translation performance. An experimental study was conducted to investigate the potential of music to induce narrative engagement (NE), based on findings that suggest the influence of NE-relevant dimensions such as visualization and emotional involvement in translation. Participants translated two literary texts with opposing emotional content (happy and sad) in two different sound conditions (with and without music). Three hypotheses were formulated predicting a beneficial effect of music for narrative engagement as well as positive correlations between narrative engagement and translation quality and creativity. Results suggest an increase of visualization in the music condition and a correlation between visualization levels and accuracy scores. Retrospective questionnaires indicate a positive appraisal of the experience of translating with music at both the cognitive and emotional level, although further investigations is needed to validate the scale and confirm its reliability.
Keywords: background music, narrative engagement, psychological transportation, visualization, emotion, translation performance
Published online: 25 May 2020
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