MATA Fourth International Conference for Translators and Interpreters

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Marta Kaźmierczak

Marta Kaźmierczak
Marta Kaźmierczak

Marta Kaźmierczak, PhD, Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw, holding MA’s from the English and Russian Departments, University of Lodz. Author of the monograph Przekład w kręgu intertekstualności [Translation in the domain of intertextuality, 2012] and over thirty papers on translation and reception. Research interests: cultural aspects of translation, intertextuality, intersemioticity, poetry translation. Visiting lecturer at the Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University, 2010. Contributor to interdisciplinary multimedia project of the Polish Academy of Science The Senses in Polish Culture, 2012. Recent participation in international translation conferences: TIFO Olomouc, Zentrum für Translationswissenschaft der Universität Wien, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier

Verbal-visual punning as a translation problem


The aim of the presentation is to discuss a specific phenomenon at the interface between intersemioticity and translation. Intersemiotic punning occurs when a relation of equivoque obtains not between two meanings encoded in the same semiotic layer, the verbal one, but between two different layers, e.g. verbal text and image. For interlingual translation this is a particularly restricting situation, since one of the elements is beyond the translator’s intervention.
In the presentation I intend to show the following:

  1. Intersemiotic equivoques occur in a surprising variety of media, from belles-lettres and film to posters, descriptions of art objects and scientific contexts (an example from history of medicine).
  2. They take different forms, which results in varied degrees of translational difficulty:
  • puns resulting from a text and accompanying image (in a literary text and in film);
  • an image accompanied by text (poster);
  • relying on implicit verbal-visual relations, but expressed only verbally (a literary description of charades; the shape of a Chinese ideogram underlying an anecdote).
  1. To diagnose translational implications of the presented examples, to indicate the limits of translation and possible solutions to the tasks.

Potential verbal-visual pun renditions between English, Polish and Russian will be considered.