A CONVERSATION ABOUT TRANSLATION

Posted 1 year ago by Catherine Colwell

Translation crosses oceans, literal and metaphoric: a quinquereme of Nineveh, a galleon, a salt-caked coaster, all with their various and vital freights. (Judith Taylor)

Translation is important as we are all translating all the time but forget or are unaware – it's good to notice and understand the gaps, what's missing, what's open to misunderstanding, differences of context, culture etc. (Lindsay MacGregor)

I love a T'ang poem called 'Grasses'. I have found many translations on the internet. Each is different. How do I choose? So I choose my favourite bits from each translation and then make a new poem. Is this another translation? (Elaine)

Dialogue with the Other is the cradle of healing and inhabitable culture. Without it – dearth, famine, insanity - (Iain Galbraith)

If we are attentive to the words of others we can start to engage actively with their ideas: the 'borders' (one of which can be language) become more porous, and then more porous. Only when listening to this conversation did I realise all the books I've bought this year at StAnza are from other-language poets – either translation or from a poet using their first language alongside English.
(D. A. Prince)

The word 'intimate' comes to mind when I think of translation, and 'opportunity' – the intimacy of sitting with other poets, sharing our work and where it comes from...and so the opportunity to visit other places – literally and metaphorically. (Kathrine Sowerby)

Translation is a shared endeavour and it seems to me works as a great reminder that making poetry – no matter the language or cultural context – itself is a social endeavour, a universal interconnection of thought, feeling and being. (Em Strang)

We now live in the age of individualisation. Any good poem has words in it(self) which are ambiguous. (That's what makes it rich/alive). The perfect translation does not exist!!! (Anon)

Translation matters because every person is entitled to access cultural capital. Whether enhancing our own through translation to English from a foreign language, or, perhaps more importantly to give access to all through BSL or braille. (Anon)

Translation matters because without translation we would not have access to other languages, cultures, ideas, concepts. Without translation, we would not have the modern world as it exists. Poetry is just as important as Greek philosophy, mathematics etc. (Donna Williams)

[Translation is] taking an interest in what's outside yourself, your own back yard, your national way of thinking. Translation also helps your own writing because of that. (Anon)

Translation is intense listening, speaking as if there are no borders. (Anon)

Let's have conversations about what we might be HOPING for, what that word might mean. Across generations, languages, communities, countries. (Barbara Davey)

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