‘Ponying the Slovos’ is the official blog of the A Clockwork Orange Parallel Translation Corpus Project. The aim of the project is to explore how invented languages function in translation, so as to reveal aspects of both language invention and the translation process. The project was initiated at Coventry University in 2015, and includes investigators from the University of Birmingham and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Nadsat is the language invented by Anthony Burgess for his famous novel A Clockwork Orange and further popularised by Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation. By examining how Nadsat is dealt with in translations, we hope to shed light upon the processes and challenges involved in literary translation. To date, the team has published articles in The Guardian, The Translator, Language and Literature and Babel magazine, with further articles forthcoming.

In 2016, Coventry University hosted the ‘Ponying the Slovos’ conference, which examined how invented languages function linguistically in literature. The symposium attracted speakers from three continents.

This blog aims to document the corpus project but also provide information on the fascinating world of invented languages generally.

The Language of 'A Clockwork Orange'

  Here is the second article published by the Parallel Translation Corpus team. In it, we seek to linguistically define Nadsat so as better to examine how its functions, effects, and construction vary across translations, which is the subject of the first article published by the team, and of future articles in planning. The Language…

L’Orange Mécanique – how do you translate an invented language?

If you wrote a late Modernist classic and wanted someone to translate it into French, you could have done worse than getting Georges Belmont on the case. Belmont knew everyone. In the period before the war, he associated with expatriate Modernists like James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Samuel Beckett, as well as local giants such…

Lives in Language – Anthony Burgess

This article originally appeared in Babel magazine issue 19: http://www.babelzine.com/ LIVES IN LANGUAGE   Jim Clarke examines the linguistic legacy of novelist, composer and amateur philologist Anthony Burgess on the centenary of his birth.   Anthony Burgess (1917-1993) It is little surprise that Anthony Burgess is today best known for a novella which is written…

Breaking down Nadsat into categories

As stated in the previous post, we have been attempting to establish what happens when an invented art language is translated, and what that can tell us about translation strategies. But to do that, it is important firstly to define what we mean by invented art language. The one we chose is not a fully-fledged…

How do you order a pizza in Dothraki?

We thought we’d share the symposium press release here on the blog too.   HOW DO YOU ORDER A PIZZA IN DOTHRAKI?* Researchers from three continents will gather in Coventry later this month to discuss invented languages. Scholars from as far afield as India, Italy and the United States will convene at Coventry University on…

After Babel: George Steiner in retrospect

Earlier this week, the scholar George Steiner died. Along with Umberto Eco, he was among the last of the great 20th century polymaths whose indomitable intellect and gimlet eye was drawn to translation as art, craft and science. Steiner’s text on translation, After Babel (1973) has gone through numerous reprints and three separate editions, and…

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