CFP : "Towards a Genetics of Translation"

Call for papers : Towards a Genetics of Translation

Guest edited by Chiara Montini (Item, ENS/CNRS Paris), Anthony Cordingley (Université Paris VIII), Marie-Hélène Paret Passos (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre)

In “Variations on the Eclogues” Paul Valéry comments on his work as a translator : “making, unmaking, remaking, sacrificing here and there, restoring as best I could what I had first rejected”. Translating Virgil gives him “the sensation... of a poet at work” (Valéry 1992, 119). For Valéry, alerts us to the fact that a translator’s work may be studied through the translation’s avant-textes (notes, sketches, drafts, manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, and correspondence). His comments highlight that a translation’s avant-textes are worthy objects of study in their own right, offering the potential for precious insights into the nature and practice of translation.

For over thirty years, genetic criticism has enriched literary studies and many other fields of knowledge. The scientific repercussions of this indispensable descriptive tool should not remain foreign to translation research. This issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia, “Towards a Genetics of Translation”, solicits articles studying genesis and avant-textes. In studying the traces of the creative process in the translator’s avant-textes, where experiments are made and censure is less strict, it is possible to access this work of hesitation, errors and choices that constitutes writing as much as translation. We advocate a methodology that proceeds first by analysing the translation’s avant-textes in their own right, before moving on to a more involved consideration of practical and theoretical questions. These may include :

Which passages or words show corrections ? Do these passages or words present objective difficulties ? If these difficulties arise because of the context of the translator’s culture, what solutions does the translator find to resolve his or her hesitations ? If, on the other hand, one is dealing with an “untranslatable”, how does the translator find a compromise ?
What do these corrections and hesitations reveal in the context of the meeting of languages and the “visibility” of the linguistic subject ?
Does the source text or any translation from another language appear in the manuscript ?
In the case of a parallel study of the geneses of source and target texts :

How does the translator interact with the source text’s avant-textes ?
How do the source text avant-textes help to resolve doubts, difficulties and ambiguities ?
Do the avant-textes of the source text influence the translator’s way of working ?
How do the processes of writing and translation differ ?

In the past decades, translation practices have evidently become thoroughly enmeshed with electronic environments. What role will this play in the emergence of a genetics of translation ? To date, genetic research has been hindered by the difficulty of accessing and consulting manuscripts and other avant-textes. Yet on-line publication, digital editions and electronically situated translation practices are offering researchers access to enlarged and growing corpuses of material for analysis. We invite proposals for articles that explore such cases. Indeed, in addition to analyses of “traditional” corpuses of genetic research, this issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia also invites contributions that consider how translation practices and genetic approaches to translation are impacted upon by such technologies as:word processors and electronic document formats ; data and eye tracking software ; computerised data analysis ; translation memories and computer-assisted translation tools ; collaborative translation technologies ; crowd translation and the internet.

Selected bibliography of important works in genetic criticism

Blevins-Le Bigot, J. “Valéry, Poe and the Question of Genetic Criticism in America.” Esprit Créateur, 41(2), 68-78.

Bourjea, S. Génétique et traduction. Paris : L’Harmattan, 1995.

De Biasi, P-M. Génétique des textes. Paris : CNRS Editions, 2011.

Deppman, J., D. Ferrer and M. Groden, eds. Genetic Criticism : Texts and Avant-Textes. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

Grésillon, A. Eléments de critique génétique. Paris : PUF, 1994.

Hay, L. La Naissance du texte. Paris : José Corti, 1989.

– – –. Les manuscrits des écrivains. Paris : Hachette, CNRS Editions, 1993.

Munday, J. “The Role of Archival and Manuscript Research in the Investigation of Translator Decision-Making.” Target. International Journal of Translation Studies 25.1 (2013) : 125 –139.

Passos Paret, M-H., Da crítica genética à tradução literária : uma interdisciplinaridade. Vinhedo : Editora Horizonte, 2011.

Romanelli, S. Gênese do processo tradutório. Vinhedo : Horizonte, 2013.

Van Hulle, D. Textual Awareness. A Genetic Study of Late Manuscripts by Joyce, Proust and Mann. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 2004.

Willemart, P. Critique génétique : pratiques et théories. Paris : L’Harmattan, 2007.

Zular, R. ed. Criação em processo : Ensaio de Crítica Genética. São Paulo : Iluminuras, 2000.

Practical information and deadlines

Proposals : abstracts of approximately 500 words, including some relevant bibliography, should be submitted by 1st of August 2014. Please send your proposals to Chiara Montini (

Acceptance of proposals : 1st of September 2014

Submission of articles : 1st of February 2015

Acceptance of articles : 30th of April 2015

Publication : November-December 2015