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Translate and describe: archive-based image description as an intermedial translation technique

Translate and describe: archive-based image description as an intermedial translation technique
Translate and describe: archive-based image description as an intermedial translation technique
Archive-based image description is examined as intermedial translation technique, and similarities to interlingual translation are considered here. Inside the archive, description exists as stand-in for the unseen photograph and the two media must perform common roles. A visual content-based description, applying restricted institutional language and record-keeping methodologies, is well-placed to provide a “word for word” translation of the technical image, as it catalogues visual elements and spatial relationships between them, always within systems of shared knowledge and language. It can be compared to the direct and literal translation of texts between languages, where analysis of meaning is not required. Description performs a non-hermeneutical translation of image to text that is routine in the archive and consistent with current critique around photographic practices; yet the description itself appears radical when transported out of the archive. An argument is made for the elevation and the autonomy of description, or “secondary” text. In line with this, my own set-piece description of a news image is included as an example of practice-oriented knowledge production and a vehicle for metatranslational discussion.
Birkin, Jane
30ada6e1-9603-4a9c-9159-8297758817fe
Birkin, Jane
30ada6e1-9603-4a9c-9159-8297758817fe

Birkin, Jane (2018) Translate and describe: archive-based image description as an intermedial translation technique. Amodern, 8 (Translation-Mac).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Archive-based image description is examined as intermedial translation technique, and similarities to interlingual translation are considered here. Inside the archive, description exists as stand-in for the unseen photograph and the two media must perform common roles. A visual content-based description, applying restricted institutional language and record-keeping methodologies, is well-placed to provide a “word for word” translation of the technical image, as it catalogues visual elements and spatial relationships between them, always within systems of shared knowledge and language. It can be compared to the direct and literal translation of texts between languages, where analysis of meaning is not required. Description performs a non-hermeneutical translation of image to text that is routine in the archive and consistent with current critique around photographic practices; yet the description itself appears radical when transported out of the archive. An argument is made for the elevation and the autonomy of description, or “secondary” text. In line with this, my own set-piece description of a news image is included as an example of practice-oriented knowledge production and a vehicle for metatranslational discussion.

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JBirkin_Translate and Describe - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 1 March 2017
Published date: January 2018
Organisations: Winchester School of Art

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407361
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407361
PURE UUID: 0a7d9d09-3ee9-47dc-abee-f193929eed6f
ORCID for Jane Birkin: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6025-9300

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Date deposited: 04 Apr 2017 01:07
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 06:04

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