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Val Nolan (National University of Ireland, Galway)

Getting Blood from a Statue: Ted Hughes, Derek Mahon, and Ovid's 'Pygmalion'

The late Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and the northern-Irish poet Derek Mahon have both produced impressive versions of Ovid's poetry with 'Pygmalion' and 'Galatea', their respective interpretations of the Pygmalion tale. While both poems display considerable fidelity to their classical progenitor, the unique conceits and concerns of the poets in question have indelibly marked the resulting texts. Viewed in tandem, small textual differences thus take on an exaggerated importance, notably in situations where the action or implication of one poem is seen to mirror that of the other. Hughes's 'Pygmalion' and Mahon's 'Galatea' also diverge quite dramatically when it comes to their conceptions of Pygmalion himself. Ovid's source material, filtered through the differences in worldview of the poets, results in two contradictory interpretations of the mythical sculptor, and also in a series of discontinuities throughout the suggestive detail of the poems. This paper will examine how the moral and aesthetic fingerprints of each poet have been stamped onto the Pygmalion story through the process of translation. It will demonstrate how poetic translation can tell a reader as much about the translator as it can about the original poet and it will also explore Hughes' and Mahon's struggle to translate and maintain the anthropocentric focus of Ovid's original text. This comparative analysis of Hughes' and Mahon's poems will offer a glimpse into two very different poetic dialogues with classical literature. In exploring these exchanges, this paper will show the continuing endurance and flexibility of classical texts as utilised by contemporary writers.

Val Nolan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at National University of Ireland, Galway, where he teaches courses in twentieth century poetry, creative writing, and Irish short stories. He has recently presented papers on Louis MacNeice and the famous 'Faber Poets' photograph, and on Ted Hughes's use of narrative in Gaudete. He is a frequent reviewer of books for publications such as the Sunday Business Post and Poetry Ireland Review.

Thenjiswa Ntwana (University of the Western Cape, South Africa)

Is translation bridging or broadening the linguistic and cultural divides in the Western Cape, South Africa? A case of Xhosa meanings getting lost in translation

The design of apartheid in South Africa was inter alia demonstrated by the official language policy, which excluded any indigenous language and was limited to English and Afrikaans. In post-apartheid South Africa, the former official languages, English and Afrikaans, have been retained as official languages. Nine African languages, as new official languages, have joined them. The present Constitution has made provision for the correction of the past historical imbalances and the National Language Service has the responsibility for taking practical measures in the realization of this directive. One way of implementing this constitutional directive is by translating, because it is through translation that people are able to access information which would otherwise be inaccessible to them In 2001 the Western Cape Language Policy, which was the first of its kind in South Africa was finalized. Xhosa is one of three official languages in the province, with English and Afrikaans, but the translation into Xhosa at government, provincial and municipal institutions, heritage sites and public spaces has been found to be ridiculous. Many of the official signs in Xhosa that are appearing around the Western Cape are a fiasco. They are so badly translated that they have been described as "meaningless and offensive". Instead of making Xhosa-speaking people feel welcome; the signage baffles, misleads and annoys them. The focus of this paper is on the quality of Xhosa translations in the Western Cape, South Africa. It is placed within the framework of the Western Cape Language Policy and translation theories concerning the problem in question.

Thenjiswa Ntwana is currently teaching Xhosa Studies to students at various levels at the University of the Western Cape. (Xhosa is one of the official languages in South Africa. Xhosa is spoken by approximately 8 million people, or about 20% of the South African population.) Thenjiswa's teaching and research interests are within the fields of Literature, Translation, Cultural Studies and Creative Writing. She is currently registered for PhD in Translation at the University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town. This presentation is part of her PhD research project.