This project focuses on the study of translation and style through the prism of translations of Russian literature in the West, and vice versa. Stylistic approaches to translation remain, on the whole, an understudied topic within translation studies, despite work such as the classic study by Vinay and Darbelnet (1958) and some later book-length studies (Boase-Beier, Parks) and articles. Yet stylistic choices and solutions are inarguably a key element of literary translation. Translating an author is not, and cannot, be merely a matter of semantic equivalence – a writer’s distinct voice has to be recreated, too, in the target language.
Whether this voice is refashioned in terms of the conventional literary style of the day (domestication) or in terms of a foreignizing strategy is a key issue that dictates many of the translator’s choices in stylistic aspects of the translation. However, this project is interested also in other aspects of this field, such as the translator’s own individual style (Ribicki, Saldanha), corpus-based methods of cross-lingual stylistic analysis, and the relationship between the literary norm and style. Last but not least, the group is interested in exploring the interplay between reception and style in cases of life writing, exilic trajectories in post-Soviet era (Hoffman, Golsworthy, Drakulic, Suleiman, Codresc, Kassabova…), and euro-orientalism (Adamovsky).
Among aspects of translation this research group is particularly interested in are: issues of the differences between the original and its translation, identifying stylistic elements that are lost, preserved or added in translation, retranslation, and translation as a component of the Republic of Letters. Our case studies cover texts written in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and their contemporary and more modern translations. A particular focus of the group's work is a collective study of contemporary translations of Dostoevsky into English (Pevear and Volokhonsky), French (Markowicz) and German (Geier).
All three cases are of translations of an entire (or nearly) oeuvre of the writer, all realized by the same translator or team of translators at around the same time (1990s onwards). This allows the group to consider such previously unexplored issues as translator style in the context of the work of an émigré translator, and whether or not, and how, the evolution of a writer's style may be translated as the translator progresses from one work to another.
Our members' publications and talks in Russia and abroad
The list of publications and talks of NUG members
The presentation by our NUG member Elena Ostrovskaya «W. H. Auden in Victor Toporov's translation»
November 20, 2018 Elena Ostrovskaya made a presentation «W. H. Auden in Victor Toporov's translation» in School of Philology, HSE
Our Croup Members Making Presentations Abroad
Eugenia Kelbert and Svetlana Cecovic participate in foreign academic events.
Professor Wim Coudenys made a presentation entitled "The Russian Soul of the Catholic Action. Dostoevskii in Belgium in the 1920s and 1930s”
The presentation by Wim Coudenys, Professor of Russian and European Cultural History at the University of Leuven (Belgium), on the Belgian reception of Dostoevskii took place on April 10. The speaker specializes in Belgian–Russian relations, Russian emigration history and Russian historiography.
Alexandra Borisenko and Victor Sonkin made a presentation "Style in Literary Translation"
The speakers showed how different translators understood the notion of style, how translational standards had changed over time and how our modern ideas of translation and style had emerged.
Another Regular Croup Meeting: Splitting Into Small Language Groups
During the fourth meeting of the group, which was held on May, 13, each group member finally determined the area that he will focus on within the Research Group.
A presentation by Elena Kalashnikova took place on March 6
During the third seminar of the Research and Study Group the members and the guests listened to the presentation entitled "Translation and Style: Based on the Series of Interviews with the Russian Literary Translators of the Late 20th and the Early 21st Centuries".
Research and Study Croup's Third Seminar: Developing a Work Plan
The regular meeting of the group took place on March 6.
The Second Seminar: The Discussion of the Theoretical Basis
The second meeting of the Research and Study Group was dedicated to the discussion of the key texts from the theoretical bibliography.
The First Seminar of the Research and Study Group: Approaches to the Study of Translation Style
During the first meeting of the group the major objectives for the future research were formulated.