Chaos out of Order
Translations of American and Canadian Contemporary Poetry into Romanian before 1989
Keywords:complexity, chaos theory, translation networks, network analysis, translator's agency, poetry translation
This essay dwells on Romanian translations of American and Canadian contemporary poetry in stand-alone collections and anthologies between World War II and 1989 against a complexity theory background that sets out to recognize irregularities (or chaotic phenomena) within what is otherwise commonly perceived as an orderly, predictive literary system. Employing a computational social network analysis approach, I examine a corpus of such translations that have been typically considered as part and parcel of a heavily controlled cultural system. The analysis shows that a sizeable part of the corpus were translations projects initiated, carried out, published, and promoted by the translators themselves — the result of a series of interactions in interpersonal and transnational networks of private individuals, rather than the result of established institutional policies and publication agendas. The essay also reflects on the need to carry out agent-oriented research in translation studies within the wider context of the digital social humanities, which present both the theoretical framework and the necessary methodologies for describing translators as agents of change.
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licence: CC BY-NC 4.0