Translators’ voices in Norwegian retranslations of Bob Dylan’s songs
Annjo K. Greenall
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
This paper tackles several questions relating to the issue of the translator’s voice in retranslation: how do others’ voices (including other (re)translations) interact with the translator’s voice in the production of a translation? How does the intersubjectively constituted voice of the translator manifest itself in paratexts, in the translated text and, in the case of singer-translators, in the translator’s physical, performing voice? The case discussed is that of Bob Dylan in (re)translation into Norwegian, and it is concluded that different singer-translators involve others in the process in various ways and to varying degrees; that there are great subjective differences in how and to what extent they take other (re)translations of Dylan into account; and that they choose different strategies for displaying their voices in paratexts, texts and performances, differences that can be explained by reference to the singer-translator’s role and status on the cultural scene.
In Norwegian there exists a synonym for translation, gjendiktning, which is not easily translatable into English. The most literal option is ‘re-poetization,’ broadly understood as ‘re-creation.’ The term is mostly used for the translation of poetry and songs. In these genres, linguistic form (e.g., rhyme and metre) is crucial for the identity and overall meaning of the text, and translators therefore often strive to preserve these aspects. The translation may thus drastically depart from the original on the semantic level. And in song translation, the necessity of fitting the lyrics to pre-existing music (Low 2005) frequently heightens this effect. The term gjendiktning captures these realities, and its use is possibly a way for translators and audiences alike to positively acknowledge the (co-)authorship and inevitable presence of the translator’s voice in these genres.
Primary sources / discography
Aadland, Tom Roger
2009Blod på spora [Blood on the tracks]. Embacle EMB 147759 1, compact disc.
1993The Poetics of Translation. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Bassnett, Susan, and Peter Bush
eds.2006The Translator as Writer. London: Continuum.
2011 “The Translation of Song.” In The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies, ed. by Kirsten Malmkjær, and Kevin Windle, 183–197. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dastjerdi, Hossein Vahid, and Amene Mohammadi
2013 “Revisiting ‘Retranslation Hypothesis’: A Comparative Analysis of Stylistic Features in the Persian Retranslations of Pride and Prejudice.” Open Journal of Modern Linguistics 3: 174–181.
Førland, Tor Egil
1998Club 7. Oslo: Pax.
Greenall, Annjo Klungervik
2014 “Scandinavian Popular Song Translation in the Late Twentieth and Early Twenty-first Centuries and their Skopoi.” In True North: Literary Translation in the Nordic Countries, ed. by B.J. Epstein, 191–209. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
1998Översättarens röst: en studie i den skönlitteräre översättarens roll med utgångspunkt i översättningar av Else Lundgren och Caj Lundgren [The translator’s voice: A study of the role of the literary translator, taking as a point of departure the translations of Else Lundgren and Caj Lundgren]. Lund: Lund University Press.
1990Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World. London: Routledge.
2005 “The Plurisemiotics of Pop Song Translation: Words, Music, Voice and Image.” In Song and Significance: Virtues and Vices of Vocal Translation, ed. by Dinda L. Gorlée, 235–262. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
2004 “A Thousand and One Translations: Revisiting Retranslation.” In Claims, Changes and Challenges in Translation Studies, ed. by Gyde Hansen, Kirsten Malmkjær, and Daniel Gile, 27–38. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
2008Kylling med soft ice og pølser. Populærmusikalske versioneringspraksisser i forbindelse med danske versioner af udenlandske sange i perioden 1945–2007 [Chicken with ice cream and sausages: Versioning practices in popular music with a focus on Danish versions of foreign songs in the period between 1945-2007]. PhD diss. University of Copenhagen.
Tahir Gürçağlar, Şehnaz
2009 “Retranslation.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, ed. by Mona Baker, and Gabriela Saldanha, 232–235. 2nd ed. Abingdon: Routledge.
2013Språkleg toleranse i Noreg-Norge, for faen! Er vi nordmenn eigentleg så språktolerante som vi likar å tru? [Language tolerance in Norway, dammit! Are we Norwegians really as linguistically tolerant as we like to think?] Oslo: Samlaget.