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Martyn Gray

Assistant Professor in Translation Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

The development of my life and academic career is closely linked to Nottingham and the University: since starting here as an undergraduate back in 2010, the only time I have left the city for an extended period of time was my year abroad! I studied French and German Joint Honours (now part of the R900 Modern Languages programme), before completing a Masters in Translation Studies with Interpreting. I then progressed to doctoral research under the supervision of Dr. Kathryn Batchelor and Dr. Pierre-Alexis Mével, analysing what reviewers and general readers actually want from translation: is the only thing that we want fluency? Or perhaps is there nowadays a greater understanding of the translation process and the approaches that we can take in our work as translators? I was appointed as Assistant Professor in Translation Studies at the University of Nottingham for the start of the 2019/20 academic year and have since taken on roles as the Course Director for Modern Languages with Translation (74Q9) and one of the Admissions Tutors for the whole department of Modern Languages and Cultures. Alongside my Masters and Ph.D. studies, I worked for German translation company, KERN AG, as a freelance translator, so I have extensive knowledge of the translation industry which I particularly enjoy imparting on students as part of the Modern Languages with Translation course.

Expertise Summary

Translation theory - particularly Venuti's notions of foreignisation & domestication

Practical translation

Modern-day translation industry

Translation of science fiction

Translation of dialect

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate modules

MLAC1089 Introduction to Translation and Interpreting Studies (French tutor & specialist on Careers)

MLAC2137 Translation Portfolio (Module convenor, main lecturer & French tutor)

MLAC2158 Contemporary Translation Studies (French tutor)

MLAC3151 Introduction to Interpreting (German tutor)

MLAC3152 Translation Project (Module convenor, main lecturer & French supervisor)

Postgraduate modules

MLAC4026 Translating Texts (Module convenor, main lecturer & French tutor)

MLAC4035 Targeted Translation Project (French/German supervisor)

Research Summary

My current research interests are related to the translation of non-standard features of language. I am particularly interested in the translation of two linguistic phenomena: (1) created words and… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

My current research interests are related to the translation of non-standard features of language. I am particularly interested in the translation of two linguistic phenomena: (1) created words and worlds in the context of science fiction; I recently published a paper on this, analysing how translators have drawn upon the many approaches available to them in order to produce a text which recreates the foreignising, alienating feeling of a science fiction text, but nonetheless a text which is still comprehensible and still cognitive for the target readers; and (2) the use of dialect, particularly in film. I am currently working on research into the French film Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis in which the characterisation of the main protagonists comes through in their use of a Northern French dialect. In translation, the characters speak in a way which is linguistically equivalent to the original French film, i.e. where the French dialect inserts a 'h' into standard French words, this is also what the translator does for the characters in English. However, many of the connotations and relationships between the characters do not have the same meaning for the English audience. I am therefore exploring what other types of (cultural) equivalence the translators could have resorted to in order to maintain the impact that the film has on the original audience.

Past Research

My Ph.D. research was focussed on examining the criteria by which literary translations are assessed in the UK, France and Germany and the language that reviewers tend to use. The inspiration for this project came from Lawrence Venuti's comments on the reviewing of literary translations in The Translator's Invisibility (2008); he claims that reviewers contribute to the notion of "invisibility" of the translator by rarely addressing the 'fact of translation' at all. He asserts that on the rare occasions that translations are addressed, reviewers' comments tend to focus on its style and fluency, neglecting other questions related to literary translation. One of the aims of this project is thus to corroborate or contradict these assertions. It is both a cross-cultural and cross-corpora study: the project will assess not only how translations are reviewed differently in the three countries, but also at how translations are reviewed depending on the popularity/specialisation of where the review is published. To achieve this, the project will have three 'points of attack' for each country: popular corpora open for comments from the public (amazon.co.uk; amazon.fr; amazon.de), mainstream newspapers/supplements (e.g. The Times Literary Supplement; Le Figaro Littéraire; Die Zeit Literaturbeilage), and specialised magazines (e.g. London Review of Books; Le Magazine Littéraire). The working hypothesis is the more specialised a review, the more likely the fact of translation is to be acknowledged and the more likely substantiated comments will be made on the quality of the translation.

Future Research

My current research focusses on various forms of French (mainly dialect) and I see my future research developing in a similar vein: I am just as interested in the differences between the two 'main' varieties of French: the French of France and the French of Québec. Much has been written about linguistic purism in Québec (for example, how the French of Québec is much more loath to draw upon any lexicon from English than the French of France). I therefore see my next research project engaging with the connection between linguistic purism and translation - how are translators of English materials (particularly advertising materials) influenced, if at all, by notions of linguistic purism when translating into both the French of France and the French of Québec?

Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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