Words in search of Translators - ITD 2015

Booklet's cover for the International Translation Day 2015
Translate is always a bit betray the text,” used to tell my teacher in High School during her class in Ancient Greek.

In order to move from one place to another, we generally pack all our items, clothing, tools, call someone to help lifting the boxes, and resettle in the new space.
Translate is not just a mechanic action, from A to B.

In order to move a text from one country to another, we generally equip with a good vocabulary, notepads, pens, and references books. Or, at least, this is how translators are used to do.

It requires study, training, and a lot of passion for languages and cultures. Because translate does not mean only interpreting, but it means to move a sentence in another context, to learn how to communicate that concept in a different place.

Despite so many people nowadays are bilingual, and young students try even more to collect language skills for their CV, the profession of translator is hugely important.

Accuracy and use of the exact terminology are essential in our quick communication. Not all of us can do by ourselves, and for all the countries the books come from.
Scientific texts, financial documents, but also in particular literary books, from narrative to poetry.

From experts in the fields, to prospective translators, they all gather at the British Library on the 2nd of October for the International Translation Day 2015.

The Rise of the Reader - First panel of the day
The day started with a panel chaired by Alex Clark, journalist and broadcast, with Gaby Wood, Anna Jean, and Will Rycroft, on readers, circulation of (e)books, and the importance of translation today.

Residency: engagement with the community

They followed many seminars to choose from.
In the morning, the sessions focused more on the activity and employability of translators: what are the current challenges, how to become a translator and how to…”survive” as a translator.

Panel for Translators in Residence
Translators in Residence, for example, explored what such a usual scheme for writers can work as well for translators.

Lucy Graves - 2014 translator in Residence at the Free Word Centre - Anne Caldwell - deputy Director of the National Association for Writers in Education (NAWE) -, and Sam Holmes (chair) - teacher and consultant in English as an Additional Language – shared their experiences.

The audience of this seminar prompted questions on how to apply for a residence scheme –  official forms, but also being proactive and pitch their own proposals -, to most rewarding aspects of the experience, to the actual projects to realize.

Modern Poetry in Translation, where verses from around the world land

After lunch, the day continued with other seminars, this time with more attention posed on specific aspects of the world of translation.
From multimedia translation to practical techniques to lead workshops.
Helen Constantine reads Scotellaro.

Fifty Years of Modern Poetry in Translation offered the chance to get an insight into MPT’s work.

David Constantine and Helen Constantine - 2003-2012 MPT’s editors – and Sasha Dugdale - current MPT’s editor – presented some elements in the working-in-progress anthology of the Magazine - Centres of Cataclysms - they particularly felt warm.

Among the text read:
- Martinson, H. Cable Ship. Translation by Robin Fulton.
- Juhasz, F. The Boy Changed into a Stag Cries Out at the Gate of Secrets. Translation by Ted Hughes.

Final Stage

From Page to Stage - final session of the day - presented four actors, a poet and translator – Sasha Dugdale – and an actor, Literary Manager and translator – Chris Campbell – on the stage to reproduce and explain the journey of a poem till the final performance.

From the original version,
          to the translation,
               to the interpretation of the director,
                    to the interpretation of the actor,
                         to...the interpretation of the audience.  

Ursula Phillips awarded the 2015 Found in Translation Award Ceremony

The day ended with the 2015 Found in Translation Award Ceremony. Ursula Phillips, Polish
translator of literary as well as academic works, has been awarded for this 8th edition of the prize.

In her words, the hope is to restore visibility to polish authors, starting from the students, her target audience.

While wandering around during the final drinks, I could catch small and big groups of people talking, exchanging ideas, contacts, feedbacks from the seminars.

Languages are not an obstacle. Learning them means look inside a different culture, understand the other better, not only what he/she says in words.Communication comes through a book, a dialogue, a gesture. The essential ingredient is to keep the door open for understanding the whole of them.