“Twinged by different musics” – the use of dialect and heteroglossia in contemporary Northern Irish translations of poetry

Gibson, Helen (2018) “Twinged by different musics” – the use of dialect and heteroglossia in contemporary Northern Irish translations of poetry. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis focusses on three poet-translators from Northern Ireland – Ciaran Carson, Seamus Heaney and Tom Paulin – investigating how and why they choose to insert Hiberno-English dialect and other kinds of language variety (heteroglossia) into their translations of poetry. I examine one text for each translator, all published around the turn of the millennium: Carson’s The Inferno (2002), Heaney’s Beowulf (1999) and Paulin’s collection of translated poems, The Road to Inver (2004).
I use a cognitive stylistics approach and close textual analysis to consider the impact of the translators’ linguistic choices on the reader, highlighting how the use of dialect and heteroglossia signals the interpretive qualities of translation. I demonstrate how these texts deviate from the language we might expect in canonical texts – and how they underline the extent to which English is made up of varied discourses, styles and registers. However, I question whether this pluralising of English can be read in line with ‘postcolonial’ uses of translation in Ireland, and suggest that a more nuanced interpretation is necessary. Focussing on what Roger Fowler termed ‘mind-style’, I propose that we should view these translators’ linguistic choices as a form of personal exploration via the translation process. Finally, I highlight the creative potential of these translations: the superimposition of language varieties, environments and temporalities enriches these texts, demonstrating linguistic enhancement over time.
In concentrating on target text stylistic choices my research ultimately suggests that translated texts can be more not less marked than their source texts, contradicting received norms in translation studies. I highlight how personal cognitive circumstances influence translation style, creating idiosyncratic texts (idiosyncrasies foregrounded via the comparability of translations). Finally, I emphasise the particularity of the translator’s position in the modern (Northern) Irish context, adding nuance to our understanding of the role(s) of literary translation in Ireland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing (former - to 2011)
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2019 14:01
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 00:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/70416

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