Monday, November 29, 2010

Writing Past Each Other? Literary translation conference, Wellington 11-13 December

Poetry, Robert Frost is supposed to have claimed, is what gets lost in translation.
If translators of literature took that for gospel, they would walk away for good from their computers, dictionaries and pens. Instead, they confront the challenges, determined to bring interesting writing to new audiences who deserve to know the wider horizons of world literature.

In a southern hemisphere first, nearly one hundred literary translators will meet in Wellington, NZ from December 11-13. A stunning line-up of keynote speakers leads the way, all of them practising translators: acclaimed Brazilian poet Paulo Britto; possibly the world’s most quoted theorist Lawrence Venuti; and postcolonial and cultural studies superstar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Poetry translation discussions, workshops and readings sit alongside presentations covering over 20 languages and national literatures.

Underlying it all, one central question: how does what we translate, and the way we choose to translate, build literary communities? What do we learn when we read translated literature from other cultures? What is the translator’s role in interpreting these cultures? Because it’s not just a matter of trading word for word: every choice a translator makes shapes the final text in a particular way, different from the choices someone else might make.

Full information and programme available at

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