28 September 12 | Chad W. Post

Couple more days of ALTA to preview, to help all of you decide which panels you might want to attend. Today we’ll highlight all of Friday’s events, cover Saturday on Monday, and then do all the special events and readings on Tuesday. It’s unbelievable that after a year of preparing for this conference, it’s finally almost here . . .

Friday, October 4th
9:00 – 10:15 am

Roundtable: The Routine of Translation: Strategies, Habits & Everyday Life

This roundtable brings together five or six ALTA members who have other professional commitments (teaching, editing, publishing), but still manage to remain productive as literary translators. The guiding question for the roundtable is a simple one: how do we make time for literary translation in the face of our other duties, especially when translation rarely pays well and often doesn’t “count” as scholarship at academic institutions? The panelists will speak about the practical aspects of planning their workday, and their insights will no doubt fascinate those of us who constantly scramble to make time for our own translation projects.

Jamie Olson | Sean Cotter | Sibelan Forrester | Bill Johnston | Erica Mena | Russell Valentino

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Translating the Transition: History & Humor in Post-Communist Literature

This panel will explore the issues surrounding the translation of Eastern European literature written after 1989, and will especially focus on the themes of historical representation and humor. The panelists will refer to recently completed translations or to works in progress.

Magdalena Mullek: “East Meets West in the Backwoods of Slovakia: Culture Clashes in Lukáš Luk’s Považský Sokolec Tales

Julia Sherwood: “Deep in the Heart of Europe: The Debunking of Slovak Nationalism in the Works of Pavel Vilikovský and Daniela Kapitáňová“

Peter Sherwood: “Transylvania and Other Troubles: Diversions and Subversions in Noémi Szécsi’s The Finno-Ugrian Vampire

Alex Zucker: “Tradition Shmadition: Patrik Ouředník’s Attempts to Puncture Czech Provincialism.”

Janet Livingstone: “Socialism through a Child’s Eyes: Absurdistan Revealed”

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10:45 am – 12:00 pm

Words on Music & the Music of Words

When the subject of poetry or fiction is musical experience, the writer is often moved to use special features to evoke that experience. Such features may include nomatopoeia, pacing, structural elements such as repetition, and patterns of rhythm or sound—all devices that can pose tough challenges for a translator. Of course, writers also use highly musical language for other purposes, such as the rendering of exceptionally lively speech or thought. The panelists will present examples of both types of writing and will discuss how they tackled the challenges these texts presented.

Carolyn Tipton: “Music in Alberti’s Chopin”
Stephen Kessler: “Luis Cernuda, Poet as Pianist”
Suzanne Jill Levine: “If Language Be Music, Play On”
Roger Greenwald: “The Peacock Dance and the Prince of Madrigals”

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Humor & Its (Dis)Constraints

This roundtable will make a foray into the realm of translating texts that were written under constraint—and also happen to be funny. Despite translation guides that counsel against parsing humor (and translating it), the discussants will undertake to do just that. We will speak about translating humorous texts while replicating their constraints. After all, to paraphrase one translator, rendering a sonnet in free verse would be like sculpting the Venus de Milo in wet sand. We will also give particular emphasis to translating works written under Oulipian constraint.

Rachel Galvin | Camille Bloomfield | Jordan Stump | Pablo Martín Ruiz

And remember, you can download the entire schedule here.

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This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

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A Dilemma
A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .

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Walker on Water
Walker on Water by Kristiina Ehin
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .

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The Nightwatches of Bonaventura
The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura
Reviewed by J. T. Mahany

Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .

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Pavane for a Dead Princess
Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-Gyu
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .

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Tram 83
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Reviewed by Caitlin Thomas

Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .

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Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .

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Sphinx
Sphinx by Anne Garréta
Reviewed by Monica Carter

Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .

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Morse, My Deaf Friend
Morse, My Deaf Friend by Miloš Djurdjević
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .

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The Crimson Thread of Abandon
The Crimson Thread of Abandon by Terayama Shūji
Reviewed by Robert Anthony Siegel

The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .

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The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >