Music and translation

Marta Mateo

Table of contents

Handbook of Translation Studies  Volume 3 (2012), pp. 115–121. Current revision: 2016.
Previous version(s) of this article: , 2016 2012ISSN 2210-4844

© 2012–2016 John Benjamins Publishing Company

The translation of musical texts – or music-linked translation, in Harai Golomb's terms (2005: 121–162) – started to receive attention from translation researchers only in the last decade. One reason for this may be the methodological challenges that its study entails, for it redraws traditional boundaries such as those between ‘translation’, ‘adaptation’ or ‘rewriting’, it questions essential concepts such as ‘authorship’ or ‘source-text’ and it clearly calls for a multidisciplinary approach (Susam-Sarajeva 2008: 188–9). Three monographic publications have now joined the relatively small group of articles so far devoted to Music and Translation, which evinces a steadily growing interest in the topic: Gorlée 2005 and Susam-Sarajeva 2008, which show that the translation of musical texts goes well beyond opera, taking multiple forms – from the (literal) translations of CD inserts or printed libretti to sung translation, the rewriting of song lyrics, surtitling, subtitling or dubbing, and Minors 2013, whose studies expand the concept of translation, to incorporate the transferences between music and text, as well as the visual arts. This entry will present an overview of the field, focusing mainly on the translation of opera in its various forms – as it has attracted most attention –, and that of songs and musicals.

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