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Daniela Hăisan (coord.), Atelier de traduction N°24.

Editura Universităţii « Ştefan cel Mare » din Suceava, 2015. ISSN : 2344-5610. 15 €
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Daniela Hăisan (coord.), Atelier de traduction N°24. Editura Universităţii « Ştefan cel Mare » din Suceava, 2015. ISSN : 2344-5610. 15 €

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1This issue of Atelier de traduction (Translation workshop), a French-language journal of international reputation published by the University of Suceava in Romania, is a substantial volume (249 pages excluding authors’ biographies) that comprises a valuable contribution to current debates in the lively field of translation studies. Numerous countries are represented (Romania, Brazil, Switzerland, Canada, Botswana, France and Belgium), with international scholars rubbing shoulders with doctoral students to present a rich palette of contributions of a very high standard. The issue is divided as usual into sections, including an interview conducted by chief editor Muguraş Constantinescu with translation studies scholar Nicolas Froeliger, articles devoted to translation history, criticism and theory, portraits of translators, a « fragmentarium » by translator and founding director Irina Mavrodin, and book reviews. What transpires upon reading this journal – as well as the quality and interest of the articles – is its eclecticism and spirit of free enquiry, and a concern for concrete experiences and contexts of translation.

2The eclecticism reflects the ever-increasing plurality and heterogeneity of a discipline that Lance Hewson, in the first article of the volume entitled « Comment peut-on être traductologue ? », prefers to call an « (inter)discipline », while attempting to stake out its boundaries. Taken as a whole this volume illustrates – and celebrates – some of the challenges and new directions within translation studies voiced by Hewson. This then is an issue in which the legitimacy and authority of a translator of ecclesiastical and monastic Orthodox texts can be challenged and hotly debated, revisiting the biblical origins of translation theory in the contemporary context of European migrations (Felicia Dumas, « Le traducteur des textes religieux orthodoxes et son autorité »), and in which die-hard patriarcal habits are revealed through an analysis of the appropriation and erasure by the external gaze of a male translator of the inside/outside bodily dynamics of écriture féminine (Aude A. Gwendoline, « La dialectique du dehors et du dedans appliquée à la traduction entre les genres : Paradis, clef en main de Nelly Arcan / Exit de David Scott Hamilton »).

  • 1  Barbara Cassin (dir.), Vocabulaire européen des philosophies : dictionnaire des intraduisibles, Pa (...)

3The question of untranslatability, likewise – brought to prominence with the monumental work on Les Intraduisibles carried out by Barbara Cassin and her team of linguists1 – and the untranslated, seen respectively as the guardian and the watchtower of the identity of languages by Riccardo Raimondo (« Les lieux de la perte : esquisses pour une taxonomie de l’intraduisible »), along with examples of untranslated or untranslatable texts presented with a view to establishing a « taxonomy of the untranslatable », sits alongside a step-by-step demonstration drawing on philosophy and translation theory of the paradoxical status of translation as comprising different forms of lying (« Du mensonge traductif », by Didier Coste).

  • 2 Paris : Les Belles lettres, collection « Traductologiques », préface de Jean-René Ladmiral, 2013.

4As well as philosophical considerations, the scope of this issue extends beyond literary translation and translation theory to embrace the specificities of pragmatic translation, as discussed in the interview with Nicolas Froeliger, with reference to his book Les noces de l’analogique et du numérique. De la traduction pragmatique2. Froeliger advocates the heuristic value of the error and the necessity for an obsession with nuance and detail, placing them in today’s world as agents of a harmonious co-existence between digital and human – humanist, even – translation methods. A discussion of innovative approaches to conference interpreting in a university setting pursues – later in the volume – the experience-based, « hands-on » approach to translation envisaged here (« Les défis de l’innovation pour interpréter les conférences en milieu universitaire », Elizabeth C. Saint) ; – as do the discussions of translation and translators in two African countries.

5Indeed, while one of the articles on literary translation testifies to the impact of postcolonial theory within the Northern hemisphere, with a reflection on the reciprocal influence of feminist and postcolonial translation theory (Anne Malena and Julie Tarif’s « La traduction féministe au Canada et les théories postcoloniales : une influence réciproque ? »), two articles expose the socio-economic and multilingual stakes of translation within decolonised countries. On the one hand there is the need for state investment in training and employing so-called « bilingual » translators (most often actually plurilingual speakers) capable of translating back and forth between the two official languages of Cameroon (« Le passé, le présent et l’avenir de la traduction au Cameroun » by Oumarou Mal Mazou), on the other the desire to promote and preserve minority languages in danger of falling into disuse. The loss of a language is the loss of a culture, a collective being-in-the-world, a poetry, an entire human legacy – a legacy which, Kagiso Jacob Sello argues, should be preserved through a proactive translation policy (« Traduire pour promouvoir et préserver les langues minoritaires et régionales au Botswana »).

6Similarly, this concern with practical experiences of translation and translators is borne out by Irina Mavrodin’s thoughts on the « impossible relationship » between author and translator. Having experienced both positions (she is the author of poems translated in journals), she concludes that a fundamental difference – an ontological difference, one might add – separates the two roles, since the writer tends towards an absolutist position, the translator towards relativism; however satisfied a translator may or may not be with their achievement, what they work with are – a word she writes in capitals – compromises.

7Eclectic in its range of subjects of enquiry, this issue is also eclectic – as has become apparent – in the spectrum of approaches propounded. The section devoted to portraits of translators, for instance, invites biographical research to enter translation studies, aided by sociology (as we see with Julie Arsenault’s use of Bourdieu’s habitus in « Pierre Leyris, traducteur des littératures anglaise et anglo-américaine »), while also offering flesh-and-blood illustrations of translation theory. A comparative, text-based approach enables Charlotte Blanchard to show how translation functions as literary criticism in Yves Bonnefoy’s translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets (« Yves Bonnefoy, traducteur des sonnets de Shakespeare. ‘Toute œuvre qui ne nous requiert pas est intraduisible’ »), and the notions of authorship and re-creation to be bodied forth in Ana Maria Bicalho’s portrait of Graciliano Ramos, translator of Camus’s La Peste into Portuguese.

8Lance Hewson’s concern with the boundaries of translation studies as an (inter)discipline can also be said to be illustrated in the volume by articles in which the importance of translation is highlighted, even as translation as such tends to be slightly overshadowed, whether by subtle literary analysis (« Ligia Stela Florea’s « Construction du point de vue et traduction. A propos de l’incipit de Qui j’ose aimer d’Hervé Bazin ») or by the defence of plurilingual language policies (« Traduire pour promouvoir et préserver les langue minoritaires et régionales au Botswana » by Kagiso Jacob Sello). The occasional typo, and at times the sense of another language surfacing from just beneath the French – such occurrences being part and parcel of translation and the bilingual experience – also contribute to the interest of the volume. With this textual materiality too, the journal is true to its name and comprises overall a very active, dynamic « translation workshop », acutely sensitive to language, in which translation’s place in the humanities is reappraised and new materials, methods and matter are tried, tested – and generously shared.

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1  Barbara Cassin (dir.), Vocabulaire européen des philosophies : dictionnaire des intraduisibles, Paris, Le Seuil/Le Robert, 2004.

2 Paris : Les Belles lettres, collection « Traductologiques », préface de Jean-René Ladmiral, 2013.

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Sara GREAVES, « Daniela Hăisan (coord.), Atelier de traduction N°24. »e-Rea [En ligne], 15.2 | 2018, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2018, consulté le 18 avril 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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