My first acquaintance with Lancaster University was last spring when I came to the ‘Translation Lancaster’ conference that was organized by the Department of Languages and Cultures. The conference offered a marvellous opportunity to share experience and ideas with students and scholars working in the same field, and opened up possibilities for networking. I was very impressed by the quality of the research done in Translation Studies at this university. The university actively promotes research and has a rather open attitude to it, which I found very attractive. Therefore, taking up an Erasmus+ PhD traineeship seemed to offer a great opportunity to come and spend time working on my research in this top rated university. I was so happy when my application was accepted.
My traineeship started on 23rd October 2016 and will last for two months. Choosing the Department of Languages and Cultures at Lancaster University has definitely been the right choice for me as I work to develop my PhD research. My research interests are in literary translation, or to be more exact, in poetry translation. I am writing my thesis on the translation of William Shakespeare’s sonnets into Lithuanian. The complete collection of 154 sonnets written by William Shakespeare was translated into Lithuanian by four translators: Alfonsas Tyruolis-Šešplaukis, Aleksys Churginas, Sigitas Geda and Tautvyda Marcinkevičiūtė (all of them professional poets). The main concern of my thesis is with equivalence. What was kept as invariant and what has undergone changes in the process of translations? I am also interested in the problem of semantic equivalence and establishment of shifts when applying comparative analysis.
At this stage in my work, I am constructing the theoretical framework for my thesis. The library at Lancaster University suits that purpose perfectly, with many relevant books and other resources available. There are a great many resources on translation studies and translation theory, as well as criticism on Shakespeare’s works. The library space is well equipped for study and I have experienced first-hand that the university is keen to keep updated and expand its collection of books and other materials. The environment created here is clearly tailored to facilitate advanced study and research.
I have also appreciated the efforts of the Department to involve me in university life. I have been able to participate in research and translation events at the university, and to attend seminars and workshops for postgraduates. This has really helped me to keep up with the latest developments in the field. Moreover, I have been offered generous assistance from academics to discuss some of the more problematic issues of my work. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, Translation Studies requires specialised knowledge in various fields, and it has been amazing to get in contact with specialists working in various fields of study, including professors of literature and translation theory.
Besides these academic contacts I have also had many positive cultural experiences. Living in a different country gives you a unique opportunity to get to know the culture from inside, by participating in it on a daily basis, not to mention a great chance to improve your language skills when communicating with native speakers of English. And, of course, it also works the other way round. One of the most striking encounters for me was to meet a Lancaster University academic who speaks Lithuanian. “Laba diena” is the least thing I expected to hear at an English university!