Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation

From transparency to trans-resonance: translation as contrapuntal poiesis

Abstract : This paper introduces the author’s polyphonic translation theory, which forms the basis of a forthcoming monograph: "Transparent Desire: the contrapuntal future of translation". It redefines some fundamental concepts of translation theory in light of the author’s Synoptic Hypothesis: “in the future reading will become increasingly interactive, such that multiple versions of a text and its paratexts are simultaneously composed and read together.” In particular, it expands the theoretical scope of a creative poiesis of translating that brings out the contingent vocal qualities of poetry, not by encapsulating, reproducing or replacing them, but by boosting their concrete, audible salience within a musical counterpoint. This effect of ‘trans-resonance’ thrives on syncopation. Taut rhythmic and syntactic divergences produce synchronic dischords or harmonic suspensions of sound and sense whose diachronic patterns of resolution can form an extra dimension of creative ‘unflattening’ (Sousanis 2015). This kind of translation is not just phonically mimetic, nor does it seek to overlay choreographies of creative reading in a dense intersemiotic palimpsest (like Clive Scott), but intends to interact with them musically, allowing them to remain distinguishable within an evolving polyphonic interplay whose goal is to emphasise difference and variance. It thus seeks to advance the hermeneutic theories of Berman and Venuti by providing them with an extra dimension. Analyses are transdisciplinary, integrating various forms of scansion and musical notation. Examples are drawn from translations of poetry between (and within) English, French and German, including several versions of Mallarmé’s “Soupir” and the interactive translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the Synoptic Translation Project:
Document type :
Conference papers
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Samuel Trainor <>
Submitted on : Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 2:39:12 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 30, 2018 - 1:22:26 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01939445, version 1



Samuel Trainor. From transparency to trans-resonance: translation as contrapuntal poiesis. Poetry and Sound in Expanded Translation, Apr 2018, Bangor, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01939445⟩



Record views