Into the translation for museums, festivals and the stage: Creativity and the transmedial turn?
The cultural and creative sectors, at the heart of the creative economy, are based on individual talent, generate considerable economic wealth and, at the same time, spread knowledge, culture and values. In the 21st century, the boom in advanced communication technologies (Díaz Cintas & Massidda 2019) has strengthened the role of translation in the cultural and creative industries (European Commission, online), as well as challenged the notion of equivalence itself, historically rooted in Translation Studies. Furthermore, the idea that translation activities are today indispensable in contexts of digital sovereignty and technological revolution has been encouraged by the explosive surge in intersemiotic, intermedial and transmedial practices (Jenkins 2006; Canalès 2020), within which the spread of fluid types of translation has reshaped modalities of content production, distribution and consumption. Flexible and feasible translational shifts adapted to the variety of local target’s expectations have become essential for ensuring knowledge diffusion and the aesthetic appreciation of works of art. These shifts have been nourished by the growth of novel perspectives aiming to reflect the beliefs of a diverse range of users and meet the needs of multifaceted audiences. This has accelerated the adoption of innovative trends, where creativity has emerged as a crucial ingredient both in media translation and in the translation of the creative industries.
Today, to a very great extent, the most diverse and heterogeneous types of translation, combined with instruments in multimodality, occupy aesthetic spaces, the horizons of translation having broadened and moved beyond textual and linguistic constraints. Types of interlingual and intralingual translations, transcreations, localisations, modes of audiovisual translation, forms of re-writing and adaptation, different forms of cultural transfer, also embracing processes of remediation, all dominate the diversified landscape of the creative and cultural sector. In line with the widespread concept of “transmedia” (Jenkins 2011), according to which diverse media interact and contribute to the construction of larger narratives across time and space and within a variety of contexts, the current issue aims to cast light upon the new possibilities offered in the digital age by activities and practices in the translation field, chiefly within the settings of museums, arts festivals and the stage/theatre. Museums, theatres and festivals, both physical and virtual sites, are conceived as places of encounter, cultural transfer and collective learning, and conceptualised as translational spaces, where translation coexists with forms of everyday language such as translanguaging. Here languages, people and cultures interact to the extent that cultural negotiations are required (Cronin and Simon 2014) with an emphasis on interactional contexts, where individuals make a creative use of their communicative and multilingual repertoires. As both geographical and physical, and virtual and metaphorical “contact zones”, to borrow from Clifford (1997), museums, festivals and the stage have massively relied upon digitalisation processes involving interlingual and intersemiotic mechanisms of translation in order to cater for the different language user needs and to encourage the adoption of emergent audiovisual translation modalities.
The combination of technology and creativity in translation has thus rapidly evolved and encouraged new ways to enter the media and art world from increasingly imaginative and creative perspectives, in which translators and artists operate in new ways, and new tasks and competences are needed. This raises several questions. What will the role of translators be in this ever-changing setting? How will the profession adapt to the new market, the creative industries and the new viewers, and exploit the current changes as powerful resources? And finally, to what extent will more traditional approaches and methods of translation go hand in hand with innovative trends in a mechanism of intersection and cohabitation of the old and the new, the technological and the human, the transgressive and the standardised? The principal line of investigation involves an in-depth scrutiny of the role of translation in its broad and narrow senses (Baker 2016) in the diffusion of the arts as an umbrella term, within which translation and creativity may intersect. Relevant research has proven the role of museums, festivals and the stage as metaphorical places of translation and sites of translation (Berry and Robinson 2017), where cultures are translated in specific ways, for specific audiences and with specific purposes in mind, and also through multimodal displays (Sturge 2007; Neather 2018; Kay L. O’Halloran et al. 2016). Nevertheless, not much research has been done into pivot translations for festivals and into practices of translation for museum textual-visual-auditory types, i.e., labels, panels, multimodal videos, websites, audio guides, audio descriptions (Spinzi 2019; Luque Colmenero 2020), festivals, i.e., documentaries, dances, videos, and the stage, i.e., creative surtitles and/or intermedial surtitles, still fairly neglected areas of accessibility and audiovisual translation research (Brodie 2020). With the objective of scrutinising general standards, specific criteria and levels of creativity applied to translation practices, also in light of recent research in audiovisual consumption and reception (Di Giovanni and Gambier 2018), localisation and media accessibility (Ranzato 2011; Chaume 2018; Greco 2018; Romero-Fresco 2019), and arts accessibility and translation in the creative industries (Perego 2018; Liao 2018; Rizzo 2020; Rizzo and Pensabene 2021), the special issue of Status Quaestionis seeks to contextualise the numerous shifts within the arts under way in the “translation industry”, and aims to address the theoretical and practical challenges that our increasingly technological culture poses for modes of accessibility, and museum, festival and stage translation (Rizzo 2019; Di Giovanni 2020; Brodie 2017).
Topics of interest might include, but are not restricted to:
- issues of methodology, interdisciplinary encounters, historical research, metaphorical perspectives on translation and cultural transfer, as well as micro-level analyses of translated materials;
- theoretical and practitioner-based research on physical and virtual museums, festivals and theatrical performances which encourage innovative angles;
- on-going debates and cutting-edge studies carried out in the field of translation for the arts and accessibility: museum translation, translation for the stage, subtitling for festivals, surtitles, interlingual, intralingual, intersemiotic translations;
- comparative models where creativity and innovation are applied and combined with traditional paths in the translation market, as provided by professionals, the industry or artistic teams, and within translation training sessions;
- intersemiotic, intermedial and transmedial perspectives in the translation of the arts;
- practices that aim to identify new ways to integrate accessibility into creative processes and how opportunities for creativity arise when providing access services through modes of translation and nontranslation-based modalities (i.e., subtitling for the deaf and the hard of hearing; audio description for the blind and the visually impaired; audio introduction; theatre captioning, audio subtitling, etc.), and by means of metaphorical language as a creative tool;
- approaches of the industry and creative teams to new methods of action (e.g., interdisciplinary collaboration, new types of practices, new professional profiles, new requirements for training in translation activities);
- translators as creators and new agents in the translation market for museums, festivals and the stage;
- collaboration and the role of different agents and stakeholders (curators, translators, local communities, visitors, directors);
- methods and strategies for translating multiple identities and/or marginalised cultures in museums, festivals and on stage;
- forms of translation and transfer in museums, festivals and on stage for the purpose of the interchange and cross-fertilisation of cultures.
We welcome full-paper submissions (contributions should not exceed 7,000 words) pertaining to the above-mentioned issues. All articles must be written in English and sent to Alessandra Rizzo (email@example.com) by June 15th, 2022. All contributors are kindly asked to express their intention to submit a paper by sending the relative abstract no later than February 25th, 2022. The articles will be evaluated through a peer-review process and published by the end of 2022. As part of the submission process, contributors are requested to adhere to the Author’s guidelines:
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Brodie, G. 2017. The Translator on Stage. Bloomsbury Academic: London.
Brodie, G. 2020. “Intercultural theatrical encounter and the dramaturgy of surtitles”. Language and Intercultural Communication, 20, pp. 450-463.
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Rizzo, A., & Pensabene, M.L. 2021. “Accessibilità e contronarrazione al Sole Luna Doc Festival. Sottotitolare le storie dei documentari”. Lingue e Linguaggi, 43, pp. 85-118.
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