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
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”
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”
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.
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. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .