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Translation at Michigan is a home for the many translation initiatives at the University of Michigan. Use the tabs above to find out more, and let us know: How do you translate?


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Monika Cassel (PhD, 2001) receives ALTA Travel Fellowship

September 21, 2016Congratulations to Monika Cassel for receiving one of this year’s four Travel Fellowships from ALTA! These highly coveted awards go to emerging translators from all fields. For more on Monika’s work, click here! Monika is the second Complitter to receive an ALTA Travel Fellowship, with Meg Berkobien being chosen in 2014.
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Absinthe at the Kerrytown BookFest

September 21, 2016Managing editors Peter Vorissis and Meg Berkobien spent Sunday, September 11th at the annual Kerrytown BookFest. With the latest issue due any day now, they had the chance to introduce new readers to the literary jewels published beforehand.  
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Professor Anton Shammas in Critical Inquiry

September 21, 2016Congratulations to Professor Anton Shammas, whose essay “Torture into Affidavit, Dispossession into Poetry: On Translating Palestinian Pain” was recently featured in Critical Inquiry. Professor Shammas’ well-loved graduate seminar “Resistance to Translation” tackles many of the themes he works through in the article, and is an excellent introduction to the political and poetic stakes of translating.
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Review: Professor Christi Merrill’s Newest Work in Translation

May 28, 2016We’re excited to announce that Christi Merrill’s newest translations have recently appeared in the edited volume of Mangalesh Dabral’s titled This Number Does Not Exist. As the publisher, BOA Editions describes the collection as An attentive critique on contemporary reality—modernity, capitalism, industrialization—this first US publication of Mangalesh Dabral, presented in bilingual English and Hindi, speaks for the dislocated, disillusioned people of our time. Juxtaposing the rugged Himalayan backdrop of Dabral’s youth with his later migration in search of earning a livelihood, this collection explores the tense relationship between country and city. Speaking in the language of deep irony, these compassionate poems also
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2016 Senior Prize in Translation Winners!

April 28, 2016The Department of Comparative Literature is pleased to award the annual prize in literary translation to two graduating seniors: Trevor Grayeb (BA Political Science and International Studies) for his translation from Japanese: An excerpt from Teito Monogatari: The Tale of the Imperial City, written by Hiroshi Aramata Steven Zeng (BA Computer Science and Business Administration) for his translation from Chinese: An excerpt from Dream of Ding Village, written by Yan Lianke We look forward to follow Trevor’s and Steven’s future translation endeavors!
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Celebrating Sant Jordi (Books & Roses Day)

April 26, 2016The RIW in Catalan Studies hosted a small Sant Jordi (Books & Roses Day, World Book Day) celebration in the Diag this past Saturday, April 23rd. The co-coordinators Meg Berkobien and Alice McAdams handed out flowers, cookies, handmade book marks, and screen prints of their favorite translations.
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Past RIW in Translation member honored by Poets & Writers

April 12, 2016Marcelo Hernandez, a member of the RIW in Translation while he was pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing here at the U, was recently honored by Poets & Writers for his work on the “Undocupoets” project. As poetic warriors of sorts, Marcelo and his partners are fighting for undocumented poets to be institutionally recognized in the US. In her article “Rethinking Poetic Citizenship,” Momo Chang writes, “Aside from contests, undocumented writers face other kinds of hurdles in the literary world. Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, one of the petition organizers, is the first undocumented writer to graduate from the University of Michigan’s
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PhD Candidate Adrienne Jacaruso Publishes Two Translations in Journal 452°

April 10, 2016In exciting news, Adrienne Jacaruso recently had two translations from Spanish published in the Barcelona-based powerhouse journal 452°. Congratulations, Adrienne! Agonizing, Awakening, and Despair in the Face of Death: Traces of Poe in “Destino” By Alberto Garía Hamilton | Ana María Risco, tr. Adrienne Jacaruso Barthesian Writings Against Oblivions (A View from Spain) | Ester Pino Estivill, tr. Adrienne Jacaruso
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“Silent Babel” Event on April 4th!

March 27, 2016Silent Babel: Multilingualism Beyond the Soundtrack Lisa Patti and Tijana Mamula Monday, April 4, 2016, 4:00 PM North Quad 2435   In this talk, Lisa Patti (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) and Tijana Mamula (John Cabot University) advocate the opening of film studies to a broader appreciation of the ways in which linguistic difference has shaped, and continues to shape, the medium’s history. While most studies of the subject have explored linguistic difference as a largely audible phenomenon – manifested through polyglot dialogues, or through the translation of monolingual dialogues for international audiences – this talk explores some of its
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Exploring Translation as a Profession

March 27, 2016On March 8th, the Language Resource Center hosted a fantastic panel discussion on translation and interpretation in medical, legal and literary fields. Guest speakers included Dr. Fawzi El Shafei, UM Interpreter Services; Nessma Bashi, Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program; Megan Berkobien, Department of Comparative Literature. Dr. El Shafei discussed the importance of being flexible when working with patients speaking a wide range of dialects. She also attended to the difficult dynamic of responding to patients in pain, and the necessity of distance in her work. Much like Dr. El Shafei, Ms. Bashi described her own emotional struggles in preparing refugees to stand in court. She also underscored
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Translation Networks Debuts New Website

March 25, 2016Translation Networks is a set of digital tools aimed at helping students build connections between ideas, creative practices, and sources. A major goal of the tools is to encourage a broader understanding of translation. The tools push users to reflect on a range of concepts such as inter-lingual translation, cross-cultural communication, and the movement across time and space of works, people, and ideas. Check out the new site here.
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Matvei Yankelevich visits the RIW in Translation!

March 25, 2016The Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop in Translation welcomed poet, translator, and publisher Matvei Yankelevich for a special workshop on February 19, 2016. Yankelevich introduced his scholarly research Daniil Kharms and how it has influenced his own translations of Kharms’ work. As Yankelevich explained, Kharms presents a particularly interest case for translation, as much of his work was “писать в стол” (“writing for the desk drawer”) instead of for publication.  
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Richard Pierre (PhD, 2015) on Designing Courses

March 2, 2016Richard Pierre, who earned his PhD from the Department of Comparative Literature in 2015, offers an interesting look into his own approach to course design over at Words without Borders. 
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“Translations We Love” Reading @ Literati

February 8, 2016The Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop in Literary Translation held its first reading of the semester on January 28, 2016. Among the readers were Mason Jabbari, Peter Vorissis, Grace Mahoney, Yael Kenan, and Megan Berkobien. The unofficial theme was Latin American writers.
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Translate-a-thon 2015

January 29, 2016The Translate-a-thon is an annual translation marathon organized by the Language Resource Center (LRC) in collaboration with the Department of Comparative Literature. On October 23-25, 2015, over 115 attendees, including 56 University undergraduates, came together to collaborate on projects in 18 languages. Finishing over 120 pages in total, the participants worked to support 14 local groups, including Ann Arbor Public Schools, several community-based and international nonprofits, University of Michigan departments, a local family who had adopted a child from China, Food Gatherers, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Congratulations to all!
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Keith Taylor, On Coming to Translate Kostas Karyotakis

January 25, 2016In a recent publication, U-M professor and poet Keith Taylor discusses his decades-long journey translating the influential Greek poet Kostas Karyotakis. Taylor, along with his co-translator Professor Bill Reader (Central Michigan University) won the 2004 Keeley and Sherrard award for their work from the Greek. You can find the full article here.
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Spencer Hawkins Translation Review on Slate

January 20, 2016Slate recently published an article on “27 books you’d probably love if only you knew about them” and Spencer Hawkins’ (PhD 2014) translation of Hans Blumenberg’s The Laughter of the Thracian Woman was on it. Congratulations, Spencer! As David Auerbach writes, “Hans Blumenberg’s The Laughter of the Thracian Woman traces the history of an origin myth of science. Greek astronomer Thales of Miletus was the original absent-minded professor. He was walking and studying the night sky, it is said, when he tripped and fell into a well, leading him to theorize that water—and not a god or gods—was the prime mover of
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Classical Translation Contest | Latin, Ancient & Modern Greek

January 14, 2016Students in all departments and programs (graduate and undergraduate) across the University of Michigan are invited to submit literary translations of texts from Latin, Ancient Greek, and Modern Greek. We know that there are many people inspired by the beauty of these languages who wish to render them more freely and creatively than classwork often involves. This contest is intended to highlight the work of students who are interested in the process of translation as a creative, intellectually meaningful enterprise. See the poster here. Rules and Prizes Please submit your work anonymously in the following format: FOUR hard copies of
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Classical Translation Contest 2016 | Arabic, Persion, Turkish

January 14, 2016Students in all departments and programs (undergraduate and graduate) across the University of Michigan are invited to submit literary translations of texts from Classical Arabic, Persian, Armenian, and Turkish. We know that there are many people inspired by the beauty of these languages who wish to render them more freely and creatively than classwork often involves. The contest is intended to highlight the work of students who are interested in the process of translation as a creative, intellectually meaningful enterprise. This contest is coordinated in conjunction with the U-M conference “After Alexander: Classical Texts in Arabic, Persian and Armenian” (April
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Khaled Mattawa, Translator/Poet, University of Michigan

Professor Khaled Mattawa discusses the trangressive (im)possibilities of translation

December 23, 2015Khaled Mattawa, associate professor in the UM Department of English Language and Literature and 2014 MacArthur Fellow, discusses the political potentialities of translation in his recent article “Translation Impossible.”  
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Meg Berkobien writes on emerging translators in Poets & Writers

December 21, 2015Comparative Literature doctoral student Meg Berkobien appears in the newest issue of Poets & Writers. The article, “The Translation Tango: On Being an Emerging Translator,” considers her own experience as an undergraduate studying translation at the University of Michigan and her thoughts on making translation a more viable profession for newcomers.
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Graduate Student Translation Conference a great success

May 18, 2015Over graduate student 25 translators from around the world participated in the 5th Biennial Graduate Student Conference. The conference, which has been held at UCLA, University of Iowa and Columbia, was organized by the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop in Literary Translation.  
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Professor Silke-Maria Weineck’s translation featured in The New Yorker

April 23, 2015TRANSLATION TAKES WING A lyrical translation of Rilke, published in The American Poetry Review in 2000 by Silke-Maria Weineck (Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan) is mentioned in a current article from The New Yorker: If writers hope to illuminate the profoundly foreign interior lives of animals, it may be that the realist novel, with its familiar protocols of character, narration, and dialogue, is simply not the ideal literary form in which to do so. In his rapturous Eighth Elegy (here in translation by Silke-Maria Weineck), Rainer Maria Rilke tried to imagine what it would
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Professor Benjamin Paloff on Translation in The Nation

April 15, 2015Professor Benjamin Paloff (UM Comp Lit and Slavic) offers his reflections on the pleasures and pains of translating the translation of translations (or else finding original citations) in “Forensic Translation,” published in The Nation on April 7. His byline includes the following: “Translation is not the art of failure but the art of the possible.” Enough said. Check it out here: Paloff in the Nation  
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Changing My Understanding of Translation

February 18, 2015–Abby Schultz Whenever I tell someone that I’m a Translation Studies Minor, I’m always asked “So, what are you supposed to do with that?” That question is not usually asked in an interested tone, but rather one that belittles translation studies and translation in general. What can I gather from this common reaction? Some people don’t see translation as anything more than translating between languages, something simple that has nothing vital at stake. I’m sorry to say that I was actually one of those people that questioned the act of translation. I saw it as something that was rather easy, a practice
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Negotiating Culture: Translation Promotion and Practice

February 1, 2015–John Foster Ann Arbor winters have a talent for keeping students indoors, but last week Thursday at six o’clock, already dark in the thick of January, and with a nuisance of a cold, I wrapped up in a scarf and braved the evening air to attend Thursday’s roundtable panel on “Promoting Translated Literature in the US.” As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, writing a thesis on Walter Benjamin and theories of translation, I couldn’t have picked a better time or university to pursue my interests. The roundtable is merely one facet of a sustained initiative at Michigan towards
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Translation at Work : Promoting Translated Literature in the US

January 22, 2015What is translated into English and why? Tonight is the second panel of the series Translation at Work : Michigan Conversations on Literary Translation. Its topic is « Promoting Translated Literature in the US » and it will include a fascinating conversation about what gets published in the States and why. The speakers are all deeply engaged with the promotion of translation works, and with thinking critically about how to promote the translation of a diversity of languages into English for an American audience. Here are the speakers bios: Esther ALLEN is a distinguished translator and writer. She co-founded the PEN World Voices Festival in 2005, and guided
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Meg Berkobien is a Featured ALTA Fellow

January 21, 2015Meg Berkobien, a doctoral student in Comparative Literature, and co-coordinator of the RIW in Literary Translation, has been featured as an ALTA Fellow. ALTA (the American Association of Literary Translators) sponsors four to six fellowships every year for emerging translators. Meg was selected as a a 2014 Fellow.

La liberté et slavery and l’esclavage et freedom

December 17, 2014On November 28th at 4PM I hand the distinct pleasure of attending the seminar called Translating Freedom; Translating Slavery held within the Hatcher Library Gallery and presented by Martha S. Jones, Jean Hébrard, Françoise Massardier-Kenney and moderated by our own Professor Merrill. The discussion was exceptionally interesting, though much of it centered on the translation of texts referring to slavery rather than tackling the issue of translating the concept of slavery itself. For example, a point which was emphasized during the discussion was that the works of the abolitionist movements frequently shared and modified by each other (especially between England
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