[My] hope is to be able to [talk about translation] with fellow translators as well as with readers or curious passers-by. With the former, I would like to exchange ideas, going beyond mere technicalities but without losing ourselves in theories, either.
I think I am a good translator, but I am not an academic or a scholar – at the very least, not yet . Therefore, I wouldn’t have hoped that someone like Chris Andrews, an outstanding translator, poet and scholar, could read this blog and invite me to join a panel at The Sydney Symposium on Literary Translation, organised by the Writing and Society Research Group, University of Western Sydney. Still, it happened, and I am extremely grateful to Chris Andrews, Suzanne Gapps, Ivor Indyk, Gail Jones, Nicholas Jose, Kathleen Olive, and the rest of the Group for this wonderful opportunity. I am also grateful to every single one of the people who commented on my paper, offered insight, simply had a chat, and in so many ways made these last two days absolutely unforgettable.
A dinner on International Translation Day preceded two days of panels featuring some incredibly talented people. Those who weren’t there will find brief description of the presentations and biographical notes in the program. You will see why, as a young translator, it was impossible for me not feel extremely inspired. The Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney will make the recordings of the proceedings available for download. I will certainly let everyone know on this blog when that happens. Any translator will find the material extremely interesting and diverse. And the plurality of points of view about literary translation was one of the key elements that made this event so special.
Extra thanks to Eric Abrahamsen, Olivia E. Sears, Esther Allen, Simon Patton, Thon-That Quynh-Du, Simon West, Meredith McKinney, Marcelo Cohen, Mridula Chakraborty, Evelyn Juers, Phillip Musgrave, Royall Tyler, Patrizia Burley-Lombardi.
Translation can be quite isolating work. Being among so many people who share my love for this art and all its ramifications was really special. And being able to talk about it without making it boring, quoting Simon Patton, felt very good indeed.
But I would also like to point out that one of the many great things about the symposium was the fantastic atmosphere before and after the sessions, at breakfast, during the breaks, into the evening. In some way, even when the topic changed, we were still talking about translation, or rather, as Simon Patton put it, about all those things that intersect translation. A continual exchange of ideas, comments, and experiences. A breathtaking exploration of a world of smuggled words.
Come on, talking with Esther Allen about Adriano Celentano’s mock-English gibberish in Prisencolinensinainciusol? Priceless.
IMAGE: St.Jerome – Ink Drawing, by Philip Bitnar