Sørensen, Mette Biil (2022):
"Material Translation: How Do Variations in Form and Materiality Influence the Ways We Read Translated Editions of a Book?." Orbis Litterarum 77.4: 252-267.
Journal Article

This article proposes the term material translation as a concept to encompass the transfer of a book’s materiality in translation processes and its influence on meaning‐making in translated editions. Even though the importance of the materiality of literary works has been generally acknowledged, it continually plays a diminutive role in the field of literary Translation Studies, as well as in the practical handling of translation processes as performed by translators and publishing houses. The transfer of form and materiality, so the article argues, becomes especially significant when it comes to photo‐texts in which interactions between words, pictures, and layout impact strongly on meaning‐making processes. By comparing book spreads from German, English/American and Danish editions of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005) and Austerlitz (2001), the article shows how variations in materiality and formal composition influence possible interpretations in different languages. Drawing on semi‐structured interviews with experts related to the analysed works, the article discusses the causes of variations in materiality, ranging from practical decisions to varying conceptions of what exactly constitutes the object of translation. Whatever the underlying reasons, the article concludes that shifts in materiality occurring in translation processes generate vital shifts in meaning‐making, thereby significantly influencing readings in different languages.