Entitled Translation in a Global Community: Theory and Practice, the 2013 Clifford Symposium at Middlebury College kicks off tomorrow, runs through Saturday evening, and features a number of interesting talks and discussions about translation.
Here’s the Middlebury summary:
You’re translating right now. We all do it every day —usually unconsciously—from written to oral, from images to text. Even with people we know who share our language and culture, our brains constantly finesse ways to make ourselves understood and to understand. Our increasingly interconnected planet scales up our reliance on translated messages exponentially. Whether it’s negotiating peace at a diplomatic table, reading a novel in a foreign tongue, or learning how to change a spark plug from a car owner’s manual, translators are there, building a bridge.
The 2013 Clifford Symposium invites students, faculty, staff, and the community to explore many forms of translation, and to show how translation and translators contribute to a complex cultural environment. The Symposium will feature faculty members from Middlebury College and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, authors, linguists, and artists.
Click here to see the full line-up of events, but just to give you a taste, here are a few of the highlights:
“Making Maigret New,” Keynote Address by David Bellos
Thursday, September 26, 4:30 p.m., MCA Concert Hall
(Bellos is one of my heroes, and thanks to his invitation, I’m actually going to Princeton next Monday to speak as part of their lunchtime lecture series. And if you haven’t read it yet, you must read Is That a Fish in Your Ear?.)
Translation Studies: An (Inter)Discipline Comes of Age
Thursday, September 26, 8-9:30 p.m., MCA Concert Hall
Translation Studies emerged as an (inter)discipline some 40 years ago, actively embracing various fields of knowledge and creating a multifaceted area of study. Panelists Rosemary Arrojo, Professor of Comparative Literature, SUNY Binghamton; María Sierra Córdoba Serrano, Assistant Professor, MIIS; Beverley Curran, Professor of Translation Studies, International Christian University, Tokyo; Minhua Liu, Associate Professor, MIIS; and Paul Losensky, Associate Professor of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University will talk about their specific areas of research, including literature, gender and postcolonial studies, media, graphic novel, and legal translation, translation sociology, and interpreting studies. Moderated by Karin Hanta (Middlebury College)
Translation as a Career: Experiences in the Field
Friday, September 27, 9:30-11 a.m., MCA Dance Theater
Professional translators, editors, publishers of translations, and interpreters discuss how they have transformed their passion into a career. The panel will include Susan Harris, editorial director of Words without Borders; Stephen Jensen, Japanese-English technical translator in sustainability; Julie Johnson, professor of interpreting at MIIS; and Chad Post, publisher of Open Letter Books, University of Rochester. Moderated by Barry Slaughter Olsen, Assistant Professor, Translation and Conference Interpretation (MIIS).
“Lexilalia: On Translating a Dictionary of Untranslatable Terms,” Keynote Address by Emily Apter
Friday, September 27, 12-1 p.m., MCA Concert Hall
Emily Apter is the author of Feminizing the Fetish: Psychoanalysis and Narrative Obsession in Turn-of-the-Century France (1993), The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006), and Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability (2013).
The “Mystery” of Translation: Global Cultural Flows
Friday, September 27, 1:30-3 p.m., MCA Concert Hall
Translations bridge time and space, connecting peoples and cultures and altering them in unexpected ways. This panel considers the role of translation in mediating cultural exchange across diverse fissures and boundaries. Panelists include Nehad Heliel, literary translator and director of the Middlebury School in Alexandria, Egypt; Carrie Reed, translator of classical Chinese literature and professor of Chinese at Middlebury; and Yumiko Yanagisawa, Swedish-Japanese and English-Japanese translator and feminist activist. This panel will be moderated by Stephen Snyder, Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies, Middlebury College.
Feminist Translation: A Political Act
Friday, September 27, 5:30-7 p.m., Chellis House
As feminist translation scholar Suzanne Lotbinière-Harwood noted, translation is an inevitably political practice without which texts would not “live” in other cultures and times. Objectivity and neutrality in translation are fallacies since the translators, as social agents, are involved in a process of constant negotiation with the social system in which they produce texts. Join us for a dinner conversation with translation studies scholars and activists Rosemary Arrojo, Emily Apter, and Yumiko Yanagisawa to discuss feminist perspectives on translation.
(Re)Writers: Translating Poetry and Fiction
Friday, September 27, 8:00-9:30 p.m., MCA Concert Hall
Literary translators occupy an anomalous position as “creative imitators.” Publishers and reading practices often mask their existence, preferring an illusion of direct contact between foreign writer and domestic reader. Yet the mediation of translation and the work of translators are crucial in shaping individual works and literary canons. This panel brings together working literary translators to discuss their experiences and attitudes toward their practice, including Middlebury faculty Ahmad Almallha, Timothy Billings, Michael Katz, Stephen Snyder and Paul Losensky (Indiana University). Moderated by Nina Wieda, Assistant Professor of Russian, Middlebury College.
Hope to see some of you there . . .
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .