Ognen Cemerski is English Language Lector at the Blaze Koneski Faculty of Philology in Skopje. He has been teaching translation since 2005. He holds an MA degree and is currently working on his PhD thesis. Among numerous other works, he has translated Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and is the author of Crowd Sails! Translating and Transferrying (a book in Macedonian on translation theory explored through the challenges of translating maritime terminology into a landlocked language]. He has focused on poststructuralist exploration of the translation potential of the Macedonian language, especially in the context of Herman Melville’s works. He is currently engaged in a comparative analysis of several English and Macedonian translations of Homer’s Odyssey.
A Landlocked Language Under Sail, Navigating Melville’s Seafaring Language (presentation)
The presentation A Landlocked Language Under Sail, Navigating Melville’s Seafaring Language aims to offer an account of how its author, having been immersed like a sounding plumb in the translation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick into Macedonian for twelve years, sought to overcome the obvious problem: how to translate Melville’s maritime discourse into a language that had no seafaring tradition whatsoever.
Over the twelve years of research, the translator, plunged in this great book of the sperm whale which once threatened to swallow him, came to the conclusion that eloquent terminology was readily available in the Macedonian language – that is, if one sounded into the depths of its history, etymology and the language of the guilds of Macedonian landsmen and fishermen alike.
The theory that anchors this approach draws on Venuti’s concept of foreignization, as well as on Deconstruction and such works as Walter Benjamin’s essay Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers, Jacques Derrida’s Des Tours de Babel, Dragi Mihajlovski’s Under Babylon.
Though the approach to translation proposed here seems to deal with maritime terminology, the presentation nevertheless will explore its potential in a broader sense.
The text of Moby Dick, coming from a now distant age, in which it was both quaint and progressive, offered the translator ample opportunities to set out on a quest of linguistic, cultural and semantic discovery, as the lack of terminology put into play a series of (de)constructive developments that the translator further employed in other subsequent translations.