WAAT #49: WAAT Links: The Trick of Translation


Here’s a set of links to translation-related essays, interviews, podcasts, virtual events, submission calls, and more to start the working week. And a reading recommendation.

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In 2014, the National Endowment for the Arts, an American organization that funds the arts and arts education, released an essay collection titled The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation on “the art of translation and its ability to help us understand other cultures and ways of thought by award-winning translators and publishers.” The essays also include recommendations of the essayists’ favorite translations. It’s free to download as a PDF here. There are plenty of lovely quotable bits and book recommendations. I’m going with this by Kazim Ali, a poet and translator, to start our week. Ali is a prolific poet and writer. He’s also a translator and professor.

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I’ve often said how the writing of my story collection, Each of Us Killers, transformed me not just as a writer but also as a person. I came to literary translation formally after I’d had various publications of my own writing and that’s when I felt Ali’s point here rather profoundly. Yes, my translation work transformed me as a translator, writer, and person. But the transformation also included the original Gujarati text, the English language it was translated into, and the place of the original author in the Indian and global literary canons. This is why I also often say that, while translation—especially from under-represented languages and literatures—is an act of love and recovery, it also requires a strong sense of responsibility.

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This coming weekend, on Saturday, November 12, at 10 AM Eastern, I will be in a virtual conversation about the history of Gujarati literature and my own translation work with Dr. Aparna Kapadia for the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith. I’d love for you to join us (registration link.)

I will also be in New York City over the weekend for the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) Literary Festival to discuss translation with two other translators: Dr. Narayan Hegde, a Kannada-to-English translator, NEA fellow, and professor; Dr. Tamraparni Dasu, a Telugu-to-English translator and co-founder of Indiawrites Publishers Inc. If you’re in the city, I’d love to meet you and talk translation (registration link.)

New to my work? Check out my books and publications.

(This also means I may not be able to send a newsletter next Monday due to travel but let’s see.)

WAAT Links

READ: I’m guest-editing a special feature on Gujarati literature in translation at Words Without Borders for a few weeks. We kicked off with an excerpt from Varsha Adalja’s award-winning novel, Crossroad, translated by me. Read here.

READ: ‘Writing in Troubled Times’; the text of Geetanjali Shree’s Lancaster International Fiction Lecture (Words Without Borders.)

READ: El traductor y defensor del lenguaje / The Translator-as-Advocate: An Interview with Jerome Herrera by Alton Melvar M Dapanas. (Asymptote Journal.)

READ: “A Short, Sharp Punch to the Face”; Alia Trabucco Zerán and Sophie Hughes talk translation. (Public Books.)

READ: Every Word Counts: Chip Rossetti on Translating Diaa Jubaili’s No Windmills in Basra. by Xiao Yue Shan. (Asymptote Journal.)

READ: Eager or Reluctant? A Translator’s Dilemma by Lily Meyer. (Public Books.)

READ: 3 books in translation that ask a lot — and allow the reader to ask a lot in return by Lily Meyer. (NPR.)

READ: Are translated books the new ‘face’ of Indian literature in English? A translator weighs in. By N. Kalyan Raman. (Scroll.in.)

READ: 46 ancient Tamil literary classics being put in Braille. (India Narrative.)

Looking for help? Check out my writing workshops and book consultation services.

READ: The Queen Sofía Spanish Institute (QSSI) announces the shortlist for the 2022 Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Translation Prize.

READ: 14 titles have been longlisted for the sixth annual award of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.

READ: Eucatastrophe: Tolkien’s word for the “anti-doomsday” by Richard Fisher. (BBC Future.)

LISTEN: The future sound of Black English. Subtitlepod; a podcast on languages.

Looking for book recommendations? Check out my ongoing book lists.

WATCH: Jenny Bhatt reads from Dhumketu’s THE SHEHNAI VIRTUOSO AND OTHER STORIES (Deep Vellum, 2022). (Translators Aloud.)

ATTEND: Vineet Gill in conversation with Amit Chaudhuri about Nirmal Verma, Hindi literature, and his new book on November 7, 2022, at 6.30 pm IST. Hybrid event at Ashoka University (zoom link.)

APPLY: Black literary translators, teachers, students, and readers who work with French and English required for a Ph.D. study: A Radical Intervention: Translating Blackness in Black Caribbean Literature. Deadline: November 28, 2022.

APPLY: 2023 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program, designed to establish and facilitate a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a literary translation project selected by the emerging translator. Deadline: November 30, 2022.

SUBMIT: Metamorphoses, the journal of the Five College Faculty Seminar on Literary Translation, is accepting submissions for its Fall-Winter issue 2022. Deadline: November 15, 2022.

SUBMIT: MELC Launches Mo Habib Translation Prize in Persian Literature. This prize comes with a commitment by Deep Vellum to publish the translated work. Deadline: March 1, 2023.

Please feel free to share these links (I’d appreciate it if you could credit this newsletter as the source.) And if you’ve got an upcoming essay, interview, or event you’d like me to include, you can send it via my contact page. I’ll try to include as many as I can.

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Jenny Bhatt is an author, a literary translator, and a book critic. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student of literature at the University of Texas at Dallas. She has taught creative writing at Writing Workshops Dallas and the PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship Program. Sign up for her free newsletters, We Are All Translators and/or Historical Fiction Craft Notes. Jenny lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Texas.

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