Etymologically, the Greek theatron means “the place from which the audience watches an action that is presented in another place”, as theatre semiotician Patrice Pavis reminds us (1998: 396). This meaning is present in the idea of theatre as a perspective, as “a point of view on an event”, and, through “a shift in the relationship between the gaze and the object contemplated”, theatre also becomes the building where the performance takes place, and, finally, acquires the abstract sense of theatre art (Pavis 1998: 396).
In English, a distinction is made between drama translation, which usually refers to written texts, to dramatic literature,) and theatre translation, to refer to performance texts, thus expressing the double nature of theatre, which is commented on below. Here, theatre translation is mostly used, except when we specifically refer to written translated drama.
Theatre translation can be defined as the set of linguistic, scenic, ideological and cultural transpositions of drama texts which have been written in a language, or language variety, with a view to their performance or publication in another linguistic or cultural setting. The specificity of theatre translation is related to the double nature of text, as a written dramatic text or as a performed theatre text. This, in turn, is connected to the inscription of translation in the literary or theatre systems of the source and target cultures, although the limits between drama or theatre translation are often blurred.
The semiotic complexity of theatre texts, given the combination of verbal and non-verbal signs, aural and visual, proxemic and kinetic, creates polyphony of information. This is both a source of restrictions and possibilities for theatre translation, especially in experimental or postdramatic contexts, which defy usual notions of consistency, narrativity or character building. Besides, multilingualism in contemporary societies and in their cultural productions often questions the role of translation in contemporary theatre.
This entry presents an overview of discussions in theatre translation studies: the blurred boundaries between (literal) translation, version and adaptation: the notion of performability and its connections with extratextual factors; the connections between translation and other phases of theatre production, and acculturation, i. e. the inscription of translation in specific cultural or ideological contexts. It also explores the connections between theatre translation and related modes and disciplines, such as audiovisual, literary and musical translation. It addresses the challenges of linguistic or sensory accessibility, by means of audio description, surtitling or sign language interpreting. Finally, it presents some avenues for research in this field.
|Eva Espasa Borrás
|Espasa Borrás, Eva. 2022. "Theatre" @ ENTI (Encyclopedia of translation & interpreting). AIETI.|