[CFP] Translation practices and policies in crime fiction (1945-1989)

Université Paris Nanterre, October 24-25, 2024

Organized within the framework of the POLARisation project (https://polarisation.hypotheses.org/), funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR), in collaboration with the Centre des Sciences des Littératures en Langue Française (CSLF), the Centre de Recherches Anglophones (CREA) and the Centre de Recherches Pluridisciplinaires Multilingues at the Université Paris Nanterre (CRPM), this conference intends to explore the role of translation in the emergence and fashioning of crime fiction imprints between 1945 and 1989 and, more generally, in the perception of the main trends of crime fiction over the same period, with a main focus on French imprints and a comparative one on those of other countries.

The best-known crime fiction imprints in France, such as “Le Masque,” the “Série Noire” and “Un Mystère,” owed their initial success and growth to the translation of foreign fiction, mostly of novels from the United Kingdom and USA. As translation helped to shape these publishing lines’ identities, it also conditioned the perception of crime fiction and of its main generic trends. At the same time, translation in these imprints was based on a wide array of overlapping processes, from the selection of titles to the editing, cutting, rewriting of texts and other forms of cultural and linguistic adaptation. These processes are not always apparent to contemporary eyes, although they were essential in shaping the identities of crime fiction imprints in France. They can be brought to light, today, by looking at the historical and material conditions of the translation process and by considering the choices made by editors and translators at the linguistic level.

Given the prominence of translation in these publishing lines, the absence, or near absence, of translations in other imprints (such as Fleuve Noir’s “Spécial Police” or “Espionnage”) can be interpreted as a counter-affirmation of genre identity, contrasting with their major competitors’ Anglo- or Americanophile tendencies. Seen from this perspective, the entire field of crime fiction publishing in France thus appears under foreign influence, conditioned by the choice to translate or not the products of a largely international field.

This overview leads to more specific questions, which the conference seeks to address:

1) What/who is being translated? To what extent does the selection of works and authors to be translated reflect the various crime fiction imprints’ need to construct a coherent series and to build a generic identity in the field of crime fiction?

2) How does one translate? What translating strategies are adopted, and what impact do they have on generic construction, narrative possibilities, and ideological representations (including class, gender or race) in crime fiction? How are these strategies impacted by historical or editorial changes? To what extent does each imprint’s generic identity depend on its translation policy and practices?

3) Who translates? What are the translators’ professional, cultural, linguistic backgrounds, and to what extent is their work individual, collective or collaborative?

4) What is the relationship between translation and the emergence of a new French “crime language”? What is the interaction between the language of translated novels and that of pseudo- translated novels or novels written directly in French? What does the language of the authors owe to the language of the translators? Conversely, how does the language of French literary productions in the field of crime fiction influence translation choices?

In order to better address these issues, the conference will also be open to studies of translation in crime fiction imprints from other countries than France; these can either be based on comparisons between their policies and those of French imprints, or look into their choices with regard to the translation of French crime fiction.

These themes and related ones may be approached from a variety of perspectives, both macrological and micrological, using big data analysis or close reading of individual texts. By way of illustration, the following points may be addressed:

● policies of corpus selection and translation;
● editorial guidelines for crime fiction translation and their evolution between 1945 and 1989;
● the role of translation in the construction of a French “crime language”;
● intersemiotic translation (paratexts and covers);
● translations and retranslations;
● translations and pseudo-translations;
● the relationships between publishers, agents, authors and translators;
● the translation market;
● translation and ideological and social issues (gender, class, race, propriety, censorship, etc.);
● linguistic and stylistic issues (e.g. the use of slang, vernacular variants, etc.);
● comparative analysis of translation policies of French and foreign crime fiction publishers and editors.

In order to explore these perspectives, this conference invites 20-minute papers, either in English or French. Please submit proposals of up to 250 words, together with a bio of approximately 100 words, by June 30, 2024 to Adrien Frenay, Lucia Quaquarelli and Benoît Tadié: af@parisnanterre.fr; lquaquarelli@parisnanterre.fr; benoit.tadie@parisnanterre.fr

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by July 15, 2024. The conference is planned as an in- person event.

For more details, please visit: https://www.fabula.org/actualites/documents/120568_bd3af9a950e691e2c2ac4cb622083d7a.pdf