Contemporary poetry translation into Scots – methods and meanings

  • Colin Bramwell

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


The following doctoral thesis is comprised of two parts. The first part, THE SET, is an essay on translating poetry into Scots at present day. The essay’s four chapters explore four central issues in contemporary Scots translation: (1) the relationship of the practice to national/nationalist concerns, (2) the issue of domestication/foreignisation, (3) addressing hystorical and metaphysical anxieties about language shift, and (4) negotiating English-Scots bilingualism on the page. Interpolated within the essay are original translations of poems by Nicanor Parra, Paul Celan, César Vallejo, Rosario Castellanos, Fernando Pessoa, Alejandra Pizarnik, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Jorge Luis Borges and Yang Mu. All original translations appear in parallel text, alongside the original texts translated from. Together, these comprise twenty-six pages of poetry, and prose stipulation of the St Andrews Creative Writing doctorate in its entirety. The remainder of the poetry (fourteen pages) is supplied by the second part, SUNSTANE, a translation of Octavio Paz’s Piedra de Sol into modern Scots (followed by a postscript from Andrei Tarkovsky.) I include two appendices, alongside a bibliography of all sources: a glossary of Scots words, and supplementary notes on the translations. My notes include a description of translation methodology in all cases. The reader can refer to these appendices throughout the course of the thesis, if seeking an explanation of an unknown word, or more information on certain poems.
Date of Award28 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorRobert Crawford (Supervisor) & Peter Mackay (Supervisor)


  • English literature
  • Scottish literature
  • Poetry
  • Translation
  • Scots
  • Spanish
  • German
  • Robert Garioch
  • Kathleen Jamie
  • Edwin Morgan

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 7 August 2028

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