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Maribor Theatre Festival — Archive 2010 - 2016

The Journey of a Dramatic Text from Author to Stage

The Round Table Discussion, 15. 10. 2011 | 15.00 | Vetrinjski dvor Mansion

The Journey of a Dramatic Text from Author to Stage
The round-table discussion about translating for the theatre is organized by the Maribor Theatre Festival and The Slovenian Association of Literary Translators

All the world is a stage, said the legendary English Bard. Everyone involved in theatre in one way or another would add that a stage is the world in miniature. When from a dim auditorium we observe how characters on stage – actors – speak words that perfectly capture the moment, perhaps we never give a thought to what needs to be done before a text, possibly in a foreign language, is brought alive on stage. Participants will talk about the road travelled by a text written in a foreign language to its final form presented on stage.
"To translate is to respond to a challenge posed by an unknown text written in a foreign language, meaning that it is a double invitation to unlock the secrets of a literary work of art. These secrets must first be espied, then interpreted, but the veil enshrouding them must be preserved and the text conveyed to readers and spectators in their native language in a manner that will leave intact the text's original enigma. The language of a literary work of art” – a play in our case – "is a language of many meanings. Its signifiers (the vocabulary, grammar, syntax and semantics), for which a skilled professional can always find an adequate and neat translation, invariably suggest more than one meaning and their elaboration. Every word written casts a shadow filled with meanings, ambiguities, layers of expression, and secrets of the unutterable. This is where the translator's adventure begins, a risky journey into the unknown, a descent into the labyrinth of artistic language, a twilight zone of creative imagination, where messages arise not only from the words themselves but also from the context and from between the lines, where silence is no less eloquent than speech, where light is born of twilight and the light of poetic truth emerges from the darkness of everyday speech.”
The above is how this year's recipient of the Sovret Award, Jaroslav Skrušný, mused about translation. In his words, "each language creates its own sub-text, context and inter-text, extracted from a special cultural and intellectual paradigm derived from its specific historical, social and civilizational experience. Every language also creates in a peculiar manner its own poetic enigma. The uncovering of these layers of language and the tracking down of the secret connections that evolve and intertwine beyond rational discourse, make up the challenges and risks, the pain and the beauty, the splendour and suffering, fears and pleasures of the translator's job. The translator must translate and transpose into the dark maze of artistic language not only foreign words, sentences and stories, but also their shadows and their untranslatable but conveyable secrets.”
The above are the deliberations of a translator, a master of words and cultures, and moreover, of meta-lingustics and multi-culturality.
The discussion will be moderated by the dramaturge and translator Mojca Kranjc. Previous recipients of the Dominik Smole Award for translation of a dramatic text, Aleš Berger, Tina Mahkota, Marko Marinčič and Primož Vitez, each working within a different linguistic, cultural and thematic milieu, will contribute their perspective on the translation process; other participants are Milan Dekleva, Jože Faganel, Srečko Fišer, Milan Jesih, Mateja Koležnik, Jernej Lorenci and Milan Štefe.

Dušanka Zabukovec

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