La traduction, c’est aussi un acte créatif

  • LE 11 MARS 2019
  • DOMINIQUE NANCY

George Sand, Albert Einstein, Picasso, John Lennon… Ces personnages hors du commun sont reconnus pour leur créativité. Mais la création n’est pas l’apanage des scientifiques, artistes et littéraires. La créativité fait aussi partie du quotidien de diverses autres professions, notamment celui des traducteurs. Quelle est la relation entre créativité et traduction? Les points de vue sont variés. Une chose est sûre: traduire n’est pas que reproduire!

C’est le sujet qu’a abordé la chercheuse Denise Merkle, de l’Université de Moncton, à l’occasion d’un dîner-conférence organisé par le Comité des conférences-midi du Département de linguistique et de traduction de l’Université de Montréal, avec l’appui de la Faculté des arts et des sciences.

«Depuis plusieurs décennies, des traductologues se sont posé la question afin de mieux comprendre le genre de travail cognitif exigé par l’acte créatif de traduire. Des recherches récentes se sont penchées sur l’interdisciplinarité inhérente à la traductologie et sur la pertinence de créer la discipline de l’adaptologie. Je cherche à savoir si des travaux récents sur la créativité pourraient contribuer à approfondir et nuancer la réflexion sur la nature de la relation entre traduction et adaptation», a déclaré d’entrée de jeu Mme Merkle avant de définir ce qu’est la créativité.

De M. et Mme Tout-le-monde à Darwin

Pour la professeure, la créativité est entendue dans le sens très large de la capacité à trouver des solutions originales et utiles aux problèmes ou questions qui se posent. En se référant à l’article Beyond Big and Little: The Four C Model of Creativity, Mme Merkle a expliqué qu’il y a plusieurs types de créativité: mini-c, petit-c, pro-c et grand-c. Le premier, le mini-c, renvoie aux activités exploratoires en réponse aux expériences nouvelles des individus en début d’apprentissage. La créativité dite petit-c est définie comme «un acte plus réfléchi et basé sur des objectifs personnels qui donnent lieu à des productions moins courantes», note Denise Merkle. Elle s’observe dans les solutions innovantes que chacun peut apporter dans son quotidien. «Cela peut être une nouvelle recette ou une solution de traduction inattendue», fait remarquer la chercheuse.

Pour accéder au niveau pro-c, soit celui des professionnels, il faut compter une bonne dizaine d’années, puisqu’il exige un «progrès considérable et volontaire» soutenu souvent par une formation et de nombreuses réalisations. Cela rappelle un peu la «règle des 10 000 heures» énoncée au début des années 90 par le psychologue suédois K. Anders Ericsson, une théorie selon laquelle on ne peut atteindre l’excellence dans une discipline qu’après avoir passé 10 000 heures à la pratiquer. Mais attention! Tous les professionnels d’un domaine créatif ne parviendront pas nécessairement au niveau pro-c, indique Mme Merkle. «Un traducteur peut gagner sa vie dans les industries de la langue sans faire preuve de créativité pro-c.»

Enfin, la créativité avec un C majuscule, le grand-c, produit des ruptures. C’est le type de créativité qui «change le monde» ou provoque des changements culturels, technologiques, scientifiques, comme l’ont fait les travaux de Charles Darwin ou les œuvres de Pablo Picasso.    

Existe-t-il un lien entre la créativité et la folie? «Je ne peux le confirmer scientifiquement, mais il existe de nombreux artistes, notamment des écrivains et des peintres, dont le travail semble appuyer cette hypothèse, admet Mme Merkle. Les créateurs hors du commun sont parfois un peu marginaux. Van Gogh en est un bel exemple.» Une étude menée par James C. Kaufman et Ronald A. Beghetto a par ailleurs démontré certains traits de personnalité communs chez les gens créatifs, mentionne la professeure. Au-delà de leur discipline personnelle, ils n’auraient notamment pas peur de prendre des risques. Les chercheurs ont aussi observé que les gens motivés par la joie et la passion étaient plus créatifs que ceux dont le principal intérêt était l’argent, les louanges ou les bonnes notes.  

Le monde de la traduction est bien complexe

Partant de cas concrets des domaines de la traductologie, littéraire et publicitaire, Mme Merkle a illustré la créativité à l’œuvre chez des traducteurs et quelques-unes des difficultés les plus grandes de l’art de traduire. Certaines sont bien connues: la poésie, l’humour et les jeux de mots sont les bêtes noires du traducteur. «La qualité d’une traduction ne réside pas seulement dans ce qu’elle dit, mais aussi dans l’effet qu’elle produit», signale Mme Merkle. Les traductions imagées des poèmes en prose d’Arthur Rimbaud par le linguiste Clive Scott en témoignent. Le lecteur est invité à parcourir le double chemin qui va du poème de Rimbaud à sa conversion en images et en mouvements par Scott. Ce qui entraîne forcément une charge suggestive nouvelle. La démarche ne plaît pas forcément à tous et est discutable.

Pour plusieurs spécialistes, toute traduction littéraire est une œuvre originale, car, même si le texte n’est pas du traducteur, celui-ci doit faire des choix et son style d’écriture est souvent reconnaissable. Mais encore une fois, cela ne fait pas l’unanimité, rappelle Mme Merkle. Puis, il y a les contraintes inhérentes aux publicités dont l’effet humoristique repose sur une illustration. «Il va sans dire que l’articulation du verbal et du visuel entraîne une modification du contenu sémantique, explique la chercheuse. Mais quelle est la limite de la recréation? Est-il possible de déterminer si les types de créativité repérés dans les traductions diffèrent de ceux mis au jour dans les adaptations et, si la réponse est oui, comment se distinguent-ils?»

C’est ce que permettront de découvrir ses travaux.

Les conférences-midi de traductologie connaissent un franc succès

Le Département de linguistique et de traduction de l’Université de Montréal lançait, en 2007, sa série de conférences-midi destinées à tenir la communauté universitaire informée des dernières avancées dans le champ d’études. Ces rencontres connaissent un franc succès. «À la fin mai, nous accueillerons notre 100e conférencier!» fait valoir la professeure à l’origine de ce projet, Sylvie Vandaele.

La recette? Chaque mois, un chercheur ou une chercheuse en traductologie ou dans une discipline connexe vient parler de ses travaux. La personne dira essentiellement la même chose que dans ses publications, mais là, c’est en petits groupes. Cela encourage la communication et les échanges. Une formule également bénéfique pour les jeunes chercheurs, dont l’établissement d’un réseau est particulièrement important.

«Il s’agit d’une occasion unique, pour qui étudie ou se passionne pour le vaste domaine que représente la traductologie, de prendre contact avec la réalité de la recherche et des multiples possibilités d’exploration», peut-on lire sur le site du département.

«J’ai pris l’initiative de mettre en place ces conférences pour favoriser le contact entre les chercheurs en traductologie et nos étudiants, particulièrement ceux des cycles supérieurs qui se destinent à la recherche», raconte Mme Vandaele. Appuyée par de nombreux collègues du département et par la Faculté des arts et des sciences, elle demande donc aux professeurs Alvaro Echeverri et Georges Bastin de se joindre à elle pour former un comité. «Georges a laissé sa place il y a quelques années à ma jeune collègue Chantal Gagnon», précise la professeure. Elle rappelle aussi que la plupart des conférences sont enregistrées et peuvent être visionnées sur Internet. «Il y a actuellement 68 vidéos en ligne et, à la fin de l’année, il y en aura 75.»

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