Jean Berton

Scottish Post-Devolution Poetry in French Translation

This paper offers to introduce the experience of producing an anthology of Scottish post-devolution poetry in French translation. The corpus is made of a large variety of selected poems in English, Scots and Gaelic, all translated into modern French and to be published under the title “Une anthologie de la poésie écossaise de la première génération du XXIè siècle.” The project, now in its last stage, includes the participation of French graduate and post-graduate students involved in Scottish literature and linguistics. It is also supported by Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

The selection is based on a large variety of forms and themes and the reader is invited to catch glimpses of Scottishness looming within the contrast operating between feeling and thinking. With a view to enabling readers the translators are advised to see to it that gaps can be perceived by readers — a challenge that will be developed in the presentation.

This paper will first dwells on the role of translations and adaptations (tradaptations) of Scottish texts in either English, Scots and Gaelic, (with very few instances of interlinguistic plays on words) into a single foreign language. The second point is to highlight how this anthology is also made to aim to enlarge on the role of poetry when connecting the past with the present and future. Lastly, this presentation intends to show the vibrant presence of poetry in the native languages of multilingual Scotland — something to be yet acknowledged in France and, presumably, in most countries in Europe.

Jean Berton, Université de Toulouse