Interview with Marlon James Sales on Spanish in the Philippines

Marlon James Sales, our Comp Lit Postdoctoral Fellow in Critical Translation Studies, was recently interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for an article about the significance of the Spanish language and Spanish heritage in the Philippines. In the article written by Alan Weedon, Marlon discusses Filipino literature in Spanish and its translations.

Read the full article, “The Philippines is fronting up to its Spanish heritage, and for some it’s paying off”, on the ABC website.

Absinthe, Volume 25 is here!

The newest issue of Absinthe: World Literature in Translation is here! Volume 25, Barings // Bearings: Contemporary Women’s Writing in Catalan, is now available for order!

Edited by Megan Berkobien and María Cristina Hall, Barings // Bearings collects sixteen pieces of contemporary women’s writing in Catalan together with the brilliantly understated illustrations of the artist Elisa Monsó.

This special issue of Absinthe witnesses a living, Catalan language through the emotional labor of translation. It is also a testament to the thriving worlds of women’s writing in Catalan, with time-travelling fiction by Bel Olid (tr. Bethan Cunningham), regrets on pregnancy sublimated into an airborne taxi ride in a story by Tina Vallès (tr. Jennifer Arnold), Mireia Vidal-Conte’s poetry reflecting on Virginia Woolf’s suicide (tr. María Cristina Hall), a story of revenge on an abusive elderly woman by Anna Maria Villalonga (tr. Natasha Tanna), as well as reflections on war, bookstores, and generational conflict in post-Franco Spain. These often surreal pieces of Catalan fiction are informed by several essays and works of literary memoir, including those by Marta Rojals (tr. Alicia Meier) on the state of the Catalan language and Najat El Hachmi (tr. Julia Sanches) on the conditions of growing up in Catalonia as the daughter of Moroccan parents. These latter pieces resist and explore the contours of multilingualism, highlighting the intra- and interlingual reality of spoken Catalan alongside Spanish and Amazigh. Barings // Bearings invokes the feeling of a people through the work of a new generation of translators.

Read the full issue online first. Copies can be purchased through our website or Amazon.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Senior Prize in Literary Translation

Two winners were selected for the 2019 Senior Prize in Literary Translation.

Nevin Mital translated an Illustrated Children’s Mahabharata by Ramanlal Soni from Hindi into English.

Collin Parks translated The History by Michael Attaleiates from Ancient Greek into English.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all of the seniors who submitted their translation to the contest this year.

Congratulations to the 2019 Classical Translations Contest winners

Thank you to all of the students who submitted a translation to the 18th annual Contexts for Classics Classical Translations Contest. Four graduate students and one undergraduate student were awarded prizes for their translations. Congratulations!

  • Shannon Burton, Classical Archaeology major
  • Anna Cornel, Classical Studies PhD student
  • Lisa Levin, Comparative Literature PhD student
  • Robert Santucci, Classical Studies PhD student
  • Megan Wilson, Classical Studies PhD student

The new Canon Undergraduate Translation Journal is live!

Canon is an online literary magazine dedicated to promoting and publishing undergraduate and graduate translation at the University of Michigan. Three undergraduate students minoring in translation undertook the task of creating a new website for Canon as well as editing the latest edition of the magazine. Congratulations to the editors, AJ Arons, Hannah Craig, and Alycia Bird, on the beautiful new site!   Read Canon Translation Journal! 


University of Michigan Professor Awarded the 2019 Martha Cheung Award

Dr. Yasmin Moll,  Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, is the winner of the 2019 Martha Cheung Award for Best English Article in Translation Studies by an Early Career Scholar for her article entitled ‘Subtitling Islam: Translation, Mediation, Critique’, published in Public Culture 29/2 (2017).

Dr. Moll’s study examines subtitling practices at Iqraa, a satellite television channel designed to promote Islamic da’wa (‘outreach’ or ‘preaching’) within both Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority societies. It argues that the subtitlers see their task as twofold: to act as ‘cultural mediators’ responsible for countering perceived Western stereotypes about Muslims on the one hand, and, on the other, to transmit as ‘preachers by proxy’ correct and relevant religious knowledge to viewers when, at times, the Arab preachers they subtitle fail to do so. These translators feel authorized to contest through subtitles both external representations of Islam and internal interpretations of divine intent. Their acts of translation, and their internal debate at Iqraa, exceed the familiar Euro-American antimony of fidelity and betrayal. The article is based on extensive fieldwork and draws on and contributes to scholarship in media studies, translation studies and cultural anthropology. It demonstrates a fine-grained attention both to the actual and contingent ways in which subtitles are created and to the different motivations behind their creation, showing how translation on Islamic television is entwined in multiple stakes at multiple scales, whether those are aspirations for professional excellence, desires for a more just geopolitical order, or longing for divine salvation.

Available open access for one year at

Contexts for Classics at the University of Michigan announces the 18th annual Classical Translations Contest

This contest is intended to highlight the work of students who are interested in the process of translation as a creative, intellectually meaningful enterprise.

Students 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.

Rules and Prizes

1. Please submit your work anonymously in the following format: FOUR hard copies of your English translation (along with the original text) and ONE separate cover page (listing the title and author of the text you translated, your name and email address, and your undergraduate major or graduate program).

2. Submissions are due on Monday, April 1, 2019 by 5:00pm to the Comparative Literature Main Office, 2021 Tisch Hall (2nd floor).

3. All submissions will be judged anonymously by a panel of faculty members from Classics, Comparative Literature, English, and related departments.

4. Students affiliated with any UM department are eligible.

5. All work should consist of original translations/interpretations of works from Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, or Latin.

6. Original works may be in prose or verse and translations may be in prose, verse, or other format, such as multi-media.

7. Maximum length of written submissions is five double-spaced pages.

8. In each category (undergraduate and graduate), the prizes will be $100 each.

9. Winners will be invited to read from their translation at the annual Classics Department Awards Ceremony on April 23, 2019.

The 2019 Senior Prize in Literary Translation is here!

The Department of Comparative Literature is pleased to invite graduating seniors in all departments at the University of Michigan to submit entries for our annual prize in literary translation.

This prize is intended to encourage undergraduate students to develop projects (through previous coursework or on their own initiative) in translating into English a literary text originally written in another language.

Submissions are due by Tuesday, April 16, and will be judged by a team of faculty members in Comparative Literature.

A prize of $500 will be awarded at the end of winter term. The winner or the winners will be invited to read at the department’s end-of-year reception on Friday, May 3.


  1. All seniors graduating in Summer 2018, Fall 2018, or Winter 2019, and affiliated with any department at the University of Michigan, are eligible to submit a translation.
  2. Students may choose to translate into English any literary text (or excerpt of a literary text) that was originally written in another language and in any literary genre (e.g. fiction, poetry, drama, creative nonfiction).
  3. A submission should consist of your translation (no more than 10 pages), and a brief translator’s preface (no more than 5 pages) that introduces the text and author you have chosen and explains your method of translation. If you have worked significantly with previously available translations, glosses, or commentaries, please note these in your translator’s preface. Make sure your submission references all texts and tools you have used to produce your translation (i.e. other translations you have consulted, translation software you may have used, etc).
  4. Please submit your translation in the following format: an email listing your name, your graduation date, your major(s) and minor(s), and the complete title, author, and language of the original text you have translated, and an email attachment without your name that includes your translator’s preface and your translation, along with a copy of the text you have translated in its original language.
  5. Your submission should be emailed to no later than 5pm on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
  6. For questions, please contact Katie Colman in the Department of Comparative Literature, 2021 Tisch Hall, University of Michigan. You may also contact the translation advisor, Silke Weineck, at

The latest issue of Absinthe has arrived!

The newest issue of Absinthe: World Literature in Translation is here! Volume 24, World Hellenisms, is now available for order!

World Hellenisms presents a selection of newly translated prose and poetry by vital voices from around the globe, including Mata Kastrisiou, Yiorgos Chouliaras, Chaim Shoshkes, Maryam Hooleh, Ersi Sotiropoulos, Elena Polygeni, Tarek Emam, Vinicio Capossela, Thomas Ioannou, and Iana Boukova. These wide-ranging texts represent reimaginings of Ancient Greek myth, explorations into the life of Cavafy, and reflections upon contemporary political and economic crises, gathered here with the aim of opening up and expanding our definitions of “Hellenism.”

Read the full issue online first!

Congratulations to Dr. Christi Merrill on the publication of her special issue of Dalit Writing translated from Hindi in Words Without Borders!

Comparative Literature Professor Christi Merrill and Professor Laura Brueck (Northwestern University) edited a special issue of Dalit writings from Hindi into English for the October issue of Words Without Borders! The translations include stories on “a traveler who finds himself checked into a ghost story to an ambitious schoolgirl facing her relatives’ resentment, in settings that range from a corporate office to a rural village.”

Words Without Borders promotes the accessibility of international literature through translation and publication to further intercultural understanding. The Dalit community’s Hindi writings use the national language to challenge the caste system and untouchability. Dr. Merrill’s careful work as a translator and editor of the special issue makes available to English readers “some of the most meaningful, socially engaged narrative voices in India today” (Introduction).

Congratulations to Dr. Christi Merrill! The October issue of Words Without Borders can be found here.


(Image: Tejubehan, “Women and Bicycles,” from Drawing from the City by Tejubehan, Original Edition © Tara Books Pvt LTD, Chennai, India.)