The multimodal translation workshop as a method of creative inquiry: Acousmatic sound, affective perception, and experiential literacy

Madeleine Campbell and Ricarda Vidal

This article investigates the role of affective perception in the development of translation and experiential literacy through the medium of a multimodal translation workshop held with twelve arts practitioners, academics, and translators. Both the rationale for the workshop format and the interpretation of workshop outputs draw on a transdisciplinary framework spanning theories of intermediality and multimodality, the study of acousmatic sound, acoustic atmospheres, and corporeal music/sound reception. Adopting a phenomenographic approach, we discuss the role of the body and the senses in communication and how the sensory exercises developed for our workshop can provide access to the prenoetic nature of perception from both a cognitive and affective standpoint. Recognizing the narrative quality of participants’ comments, a deductive approach was taken to analyze their translations and reflections through the lens of narrative modes of acousmatic music. The article concludes with pedagogical implications on the basis of participants’ reflections. Our findings support the use of a multimodal online translation workshop as both a research method to investigate meaning-making and a pedagogical resource to develop experiential literacy for both practitioners and developing translators.

Publication history
Table of contents

In 2010, Clive Scott published an article in a special issue of the art history journal Art in Translation in which he illustratively explains the practice of literary translation as “centrifugal practice.” Drawing on synaesthesia and pointing to the multisensory and multimodal qualities inherent to reading, he focuses on the reader/translator and their contribution to the text’s becoming. He describes translation as “a cross-sensory journey, a journey in which the lexical is allowed associatively to generate what sense-experience it wishes to” (Scott 2010, 162). He demonstrates a range of such sense experiences in a series of translations of Apollinaire’s poem “Le Voyageur” (1913), for which he employs various media including printed text, collage, photography, water colours, and enamels. Scott (2010) explodes the text by showing the sheer infinite possibilities in which it can be experienced and to illustrate his argument that

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