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Translingual Discourse in Ethnomusicology
Academic, Special adult
Department of Musicology at the University of Vienna and Department of Ethnomusicology, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria
Peer reviewed
Open access

Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University

Translingual Discourse in Ethnomusicology (TDE) aims to “encourage[e] discourse across language barriers by publishing English translations of ethnomusicological papers that have originally appeared in other languages and therefore probably not received their due recognition.” Since this journal, by definition, is re-publishing previously published material, the peer review process employed is slightly different from that of other scholarly titles. For TDE, members of the Editorial Board (who are selected for their language skills) suggest articles they consider outstanding to the TDE editors, and that is considered the first review. The editors then ask the author (if they are interested in the publication) to provide an English pre-translation of the article. That is submitted with the original article to a second peer reviewer. Once the translated article has gone through the review, professional proof reading is done by native speakers expert in both academic English and ethnomusicology. One volume of the journal is published each year, consisting of five to ten articles, with articles added to each "current" volume on a rolling basis, as soon as they are ready for publication.

The first volume of the journal, for 2015, was available for review at this time. It offers six articles: “On the Significance of Ethnological Studies for the Psychology and Aesthetics of Musical Art,” originally in German; “Social Constructionism as an Ethnomusicological Approach,” originally in Finnish; “Maloya Music as World Cultural Heritage: The Cultural, Political, and Ethical Fallout of Labeling,” originally in French; “Intangible Culture as Heritage: The Linđo – Kolo Dance, from the Dubrovnik Littoral,” originally in Croatian;  “Rhythm in Life and in Popular Art in Sicily,” originally in Italian; and “Maqâm-e Delkash: A Comparative Look at the Concept and Characteristics of Maqâm in Persian Dastgâhi Music,” originally in Persian. This first volume powerfully illustrates the intrinsic value of TDE: how many scholars are currently fluent in the six different languages it would require to be able to read these articles in their original versions?

A reading of the English translations shows that these are very scholarly, well-researched and well-written articles. I am by no means a translator myself, but I can say that the article translated from the French has made a smooth, effective, and idiomatically-sensitive transition, and that bodes well for the rest of the content here.

It’s to be hoped this journal will go on and on and on into the future. By all means please do make any ethnomusicologists with whom you work aware of Translingual Discourse in Ethnomusicology. Wat een prachtige bron! That’s, “what a wonderful resource! in Dutch, at least according to BabelFish.

29 Feb 2016
Interested in contributing to an upcoming Magazines for Libraries™ Update? Contact Cheryl LaGuardia.

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