Translating For Singing The Theory, Art and Craft of Translating Lyrics

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-05-19
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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What is included with this book?


Translating for Singing discusses the art and craft of translating singable lyrics, a topic of interest in a wide range of fields, including translation, music, creative writing, cultural studies, performance studies, and semiotics. Previously, such translation has most often been discussed by music critics, many of whom had neither training nor experience in this area. Written by two internationally known translators, the book focusses mainly on practical techniques for creating translations meant to be sung to pre-existing music, with suggested solutions to such linguistic problems as those associated with rhythm, syllable count, vocal burden, rhyme, repetition and sound. Translation theory and translations of lyrics for other purposes, such as surtitles, are also covered.

The book can serve as a primary text in courses on translating lyrics and as a reference and supplementary text for other courses and for professionals in the fields mentioned. Beyond academia, the book is of interest to professional translators and to librettists, singers, conductors, stage directors, and audience members.

Author Biography

Ronnie Apter is Professor Emerita of English at Central Michigan University, USA. She is the author of two books, one about translation, and one both about translation and including many translations. She has written twenty-two collaborative translations of operas, operettas, and choral works which have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, England, and Scotland, and have been praised in periodicals ranging from The New York Times to The [London] Times.

Mark Herman is at Columbia University in the City of New York, USA.

Table of Contents

Preface, Philip Gossett
1. Should Singable Lyrics Be Translated?
a. Theoretical and Ideological Arguments
b. Practical Problems
2. The Purposes of Translation
a. There is No Universal Translation
b. Using Translations To Re-Create Another Time and Place
c. Singable Translations versus Surtitles
d. Translation versus Adaptation
3. Translating for the Stage
a. Diction Levels
b. Contemporary or Pre-Modern Language
c. Invented Language and Wordplay
d. Conflicting Performing Conventions
e. Conflicting Sensibilities
f. When a Work References Itself or Other Works
g. Re-Translating Works That Have Already Been Translated
i. When Existing Translations are Inadequate or Dated
ii. When a New Translation is Needed for a Particular Production
4. Problems Peculiar to Translating for Singing
a. Limitations of the Human Voice
b. Dealing with Poetic Structures Set to Music
i. Following or Not Following the Original Metrical Form
ii. Rhythm and Burden
iii. Rhyme and Closure
c. Getting the Right Word on the Right Note
d. When Music and Dramatic Setting Conflict
5. A Final Plea
Works Cited
About the Authors

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