Lawrence Venuti (Temple University)

Seminaret for oversettelse, Klassisk seminar and Traveling Texts are proud to announce a half day seminar on translation featuring translation studies guru Lawrence Venuti (Temple University). The seminar is open to everybody and we particularly encourage students to come.

NB! Note that Venuti will also give a public lecture on Tuesday 20 November. 

12:15-14:00 PART I: LAWRENCE VENUTI: TRANSLATION THEORY AND PRACTICE: "Instrumental vs. Hermeneutic Models"

Although the history of translation theory and practice has been distinguished by a range of concepts and strategies, two approaches have recurred so frequently as to be considered dominant models: one can be called instrumental, treating translation as the reproduction or transfer of an invariant in the source text, whether its form, its meaning, or its effect, while the other can be called hermeneutic, treating translation as an interpretation that attempts to fix the form, meaning, and effect of the source text, but that inevitably varies them according to intelligibilities and interests in the receiving culture. This seminar will explore the continuing pertinence of these models by examining extracts from theorists and commentators as well as professional translators. Attention will be given to various theoretical concepts, ranging from equivalence and norms to ethics to recent debates about untranslatability.


14:00-14.30: Break (with refreshments)



Espen Grønlie (ILOS): “Incompetent translation: Ezra Pound’s licentia poetica

In April 1915, Ezra Pound published Cathay, his versions of some classical Chinese poets, thereby “inventing” Chinese poetry “as we know it today”, as T. S. Eliot would put it in his foreword to Pound’s Selected Poems. But what did Pound know of Chinese language at this point? Next to nothing, his biographer A. David Moody suggests: “He could not read the Chinese characters – he could not even sound them out.” How does one translate from a language one doesn’t know? And what can such an enterprise tell us about translation?


Eva Refsdal (ILOS): "Translation and reception of Latin American fiction in contemporary Norway"

I will present some preliminary results from an ongoing case study on contemporary Norwegian translations of Latin American fiction. The aim of the investigation is to explore whether the stereotyped hetero-images accounted for in a previous study of translations and paratexts from the 1960s (Refsdal 2016, doctoral dissertation) are still present in Norwegian translation and reception of Latin American literature today. I will discuss paratextual material from contemporary (2015–2018) Norwegian translations of Latin American fiction in relation to the findings in my dissertation. Initially, the plan was to apply the same theoretical and methodological framework as in my dissertation (a combination of DTS and imagology). However, and especially since I will now be working with contemporary material, I think that my research would benefit from a framework which is more clearly oriented towards visibility, agency and sociology of translation.


Giuliano D'Amico (Senter for Ibsenstudier): “The sun rises on the fjords” – exoticism and domestication in early Italian Ibsen translations

The main focus of the paper would be on the translations which were part of the ‘Ibsen campaign’ run between 1891 and 1894 by the Italian theatrical agents Enrico and Icilio Polese. During these four years, the Poleses were responsible for the introduction to Italy of eight plays by Ibsen.

Through textual analysis of the eight translations made by Enrico Polese and marketed by his father Icilio, I will show some of the radical changes that these texts underwent in the process of their domestication for the Italian market. This included the abbreviation, simplification or explanation of the most obscure and complex passages and a softening of those aspects of the plays that might have been perceived as offensive or scandalous.

Even more interestingly, these texts also feature the addition of a ‘Nordic exoticism’ which would supposedly suit the taste of the Italian audience. Polese’s Ibsen translations share a represented, ‘exotic’ trait which is the translator’s construction of the ‘Other’. Polese, who had never visited Norway and probably had little knowledge of the country, imagined and constructed an image of Norway which he thought would be recognized by his recipients. The ‘exoticization’ of his translations (which often include descriptions of the Norwegian landscape, such as the fjords and mountains, which were not present in the original Norwegian texts) domesticates and foreignizes at the same time. It domesticates because it serves the interest of the target culture, and it foreignizes because it creates and interpolates ‘foreign’ elements not present in the source text.



  1. An overview of the project by Ika Kaminka (Head of Norwegian Association of Literary Translators) 
  2. A talk focusing on the benefits and challenges of writing an entry for this lexicon by Mathilde Skoie (IFIKK). Skoie is assigned two articles for the lexicon; one on Norwegian translations of Virgil and one on Rebecca Hammering Bang who i.a. translated Plutarch, The Life of Caesar.


For any questions, get in touch with Mathilde Skoie: 


Publisert 24. sep. 2018 10:36 - Sist endret 12. feb. 2020 14:07