Salzburg Global Seminar on Translation

This February, a very interesting seminar on translation is taking place as part of the Salzburg Global Seminars, an organization that “convenes imaginative thinkers from different cultures and institutions, organizes problem-focused initiatives, supports leadership development, and engages opinion-makers through active communication networks, all in partnership with leading institutions from around the world and across different sectors of society.”

Entitled Traduttore Traditore? Recognizing and Promoting the Critical Role of Translation in a Global Culture

Literary translation is a key to cross-cultural communication: it enables literature to cross linguistic borders and facilitates inter-cultural exchange and understanding. How else would we be able to enjoy and learn from literature written in languages other than our own? How else would we gain insights into societies and cultures about which we know little or perhaps nothing at all? Given the undeniable value of literature as a means of understanding societal developments and of capturing and transporting the rich diversity of our cultures, one must ask, then, why so many works go untranslated and why the critical art of translation is so little understood or valued?

This session will bring together literary translators, literary agents, publishers, critics, scholars, cultural authorities, philanthropists, and translation advocates from around the world together to shed new light on the unsung art of translation and on the vital role that translators play in making literature accessible to international audiences. Participants will work together to identify where particular deficits exist, and what actions could be taken to encourage the publication of more and better translations. Plenary sessions will focus on the following questions: Who decides what gets translated and how can these decisions be influenced? What role can the public and philanthropic sectors play in encouraging more translation? What can translators’associations and authors’ networks do to increase awareness around the importance of translation? And finally, what case studies show how translation can be successfully promoted – through prizes, regional projects, or publicly-sponsored programs – and how could they be adapted and applied to a variety of contexts?

The list of participants is really impressive, and includes Peter Bush, Esther Allen, Susan Harris, Michael Krueger, John Siciliano, Bas Pauw, Boyd Tonkin, and many more. I’m going to be attending as well, and will definitely write about the goings on for Three Percent. (And hopefully the Frankfurt Book Fair newsletter as well.)

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