Literary Translation and Transmediality: Clive Scott’s Reader-Oriented Translation Theory and Practice
Keywords:Translation Theory, Multimediality, Clive Scott, Literary Translation, Reader, Perception
The British translation practitioner and theorist Clive Scott has presented an approach to literary translation that integrates the transmedial into textual translation. His translations of poetry contain doodling, handwriting, crossing out, writing over, typographical experimentation, and photo-collages; he even offers photo-poetic translations consisting exclusively of photos. By including such extra-verbal matter, they play with the medium of literature and integrate a rich variety of visual forms. Scott wishes to stress the role of perception in translating; he offers a reader-focused theory of translation. He is much less concerned with translation as a service for people who do not understand the original language than with the act of translating as a school for reading and hence for developing our capacities of perception and self-awareness. The materiality of language plays a major role in such an idea of translation. His approach has little to do with intentional meaning, focusing instead on the accessibility of sense. Translating is a process, and it is the relationship of this process to what Scott rightly sees as the multi-sensory process of meaning-making during reading that is at issue in his theory and practice. By analysing Scott’s theory and examples of his translationwork, this paper considers what this approach to translating says about transmediality in a phenomenological sense: it sheds light on how we read and perceive and on what the transmedial elements in these processes do. Scott’s transmedial translation theory and practice bring to the fore the multiplicity of media involved in the perception of a text in the reader’s mind and thus sharpens the awareness of what language is and does.