The "visible" translator : challenges and limitations in musical translation
Chan, Candice Jing Harn
Date of Issue2017-07-10
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This thesis project puts forward a case study in translating an English-language Singapore musical, Forbidden City. It points out a gap in Singapore’s arts scene, where local stage productions – including musicals – are generally not translated, and aims to fill that gap by producing a performable Chinese-language version of Forbidden City. In particular, the project highlights the factors and requirements necessary for the translation of songs, in the context of Peter Low’s Pentathlon Principle, as well as the strategies and considerations involved in the translation of a musical. Through the discussion, it demonstrates the challenges and limitations in the translation of musicals, and how it is not always possible for the translator to remain “invisible”. It then explores the potential applications of musical translations, including surtitles and audio description of musicals and stage performances for the blind and visually impaired. This thesis concludes with an assessment of the author’s translation of Forbidden City, noting that while it is functional in its current form, it is still a work in progress and needs refining before it is truly performance-ready.