Dimensionen der Humantranslation / Dimensions of Human Translation

2022

Dimensionen der Humantranslation / Dimensions of Human Translation

Marco Agnetta
Pages 185-226

On syntactic shifts in the translation of music‑bound texts, illustrated by the example of recitative translation

Texts that display multiple relationships with nonverbal elements (music, images, scene) are likely to demonstrate more than others that some forms of translation cannot, or cannot yet, be fully taken over by machines. The human translator remains the final authority for weighing the many choices and their consequences when transferring a polysemiotic artifact from one cultural context into another. The subject of this book chapter is the effects of translational decisions on the syntactic connection between music and language. Comparing the recitatives from Gluck’s Italian‑language opera Orfeo ed Euridice (1762) with a French translation by Pierre‑Louis Moline (1774)—as well as two German translations, by Heinrich Abert (1914) and Hans Swarowsky (1962)—the chapter shows the resultant changes in the target text when completely new recitatives are composed, or when attempting to ensure that the original music be preserved in the translation.