Found in Translation

Together with translator extraordinaire Rebecca DeWald, I organise events which put translation and translators centre stage. (So far, we’ve held events at the Forest Cafe and the Hidden Door Festival.) Why? Well…

Manifesto

“Translators are fakers. Pretenders. Imposters.” So says Douglas Robinson, in his handbook to Becoming a Translator

“To translate is to take hostage.” Nora Gomringer

“Translation is only ever the underside of an exquisite rug.” Friedrich Julius Hammer

Thanks for that, Friedrich.

But:

“Translation is more than a grammar, it is a listening.” Lauren Elkin

And:

“To translate is to be a ferryman.” Robert Schindler

Without us, your words are held hostage, captured in a language they can never escape. We will ferry you across any river. We will sweep the rug from underneath your feet. We will fake it for you.

We often lose sight of translation for its use as a metaphor. We translate words into action. Action into art. Art into music. Music into motion.

Seriously? That’s what we call dance.

We’ve all read books in translation. Asterix. Pippi Longstocking. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – but the translators are often hidden in plain sight. When we do stop to talk about the translation, it’s to debate, in serious academic tones, whether all translations are equal or some more equal than others.

So, what about the translators? People who are competent speakers of at least two languages and employ them to ferry texts across languages and cultures. What makes them laugh uncontrollably, or stare at a page in fear? How many hours of their lives have they spend wondering whether it’s okay to translate a German noughties pop song reference into Simon and Garfunkel?

We want to go beyond “opening up spaces” and “exploring the notion” of translation. We want to show you the dialogue, the joys, the challenges, the creativity of translation.

So, join us.

We will ferry you across any river. We will sweep the rug from underneath your feet. We will fake it for you – and it’ll be the best night of your life.

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