35(1) - 2023

Sur la retraduction des chansons

Giulia D’Andrea

Re-translating songs

This paper deals with retranslating songs, a subject which, until now, has not been given much attention apart from a few studies (Froeliger, 2020 ; Aronsson, 2021). In particular, we focus on the Golden Age of French Popular Songs, also known as chansons, in order to identify their specificities within the research field of translation studies. Examples are taken from the works by singer-songwriters such as Georges Brassens and Jacques Brel. After defining songs as an object of translation studies, we make a distinction between translations to be sung, and written translations whose essential purpose is to facilitate the understanding of the lyrics. As a result of this distinction, the various meanings of retranslation can be taken into account, from the “creation of a new target text when one or more target texts already exist” (Apter & Herman, 2016, p. 65) to ‘relay’ translations and back translations. The findings point towards an important characteristic of songs, i.e., that every performance can be considered, in a broader sense, as a retranslation. From a cognitive perspective, the study also reveals the need to consider the impact of auditory memory when researching sung retranslation. The research raises important questions, which need to be developed by other linguists to deepen the notion of singability.

retranslation, songs, sung translations, relay translations, back translations

DOI 10.17462/para.2023.01.08

April 4, 2023
  35(1) - 2023