Miriam Vestergaard Kobbersmed

PhD Student

Miriam Vestergaard Kobbersmed

Towards a Literary Translation Critique

PhD project description 

In recent years, translation has been subject to an unprecedented attention. A part of this attention is carried by the Translation Studies phenomenon which appeared in the 1980s and has turned out to be robust and relevant still. With the Translation Studies paradigm, the research in literary translation has increased and at the same time, globalization produced a greater need for translations than ever before. In spite of this growing interest in the field, a systematic and academically founded literary translation critique is still lacking.


In my PhD-project I aim at establishing criteria for such a literary translation critique. I seek to achieve this by examining and discussing four basic dilemmas of translation at a theoretical level, dilemmas which the translator as well as the critic need to take into consideration when working with and reflecting on translation. By rooting the issues in a theoretical basis that examines the strength and weaknesses of the given theories, I will show how it is possible to evaluate a translation academically by questioning how these dilemmas are solved in practice, and comparing the answers to the theoretical basis. The theoretical discussions are followed up by an example of an analysis of each dilemma in the first part of the thesis. On this background, in the second part I will analyse three main cases from the three main genres: poetry, drama and novel, represented by the Danish translations of Baudelaire’s principal work Les Fleurs du Mal, Molières Don Juan and Proust’s Du côté de chez Swann. The object of the three analyses is to try out the validity of the criteria in practice by a comparative reading of them. 

By this PhD-project I wish to facilitate a systematic reflection on translation and translation critique in Denmark, and in this way contribute to an increased awareness of the reading of translations.

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