Introduction to the Art of Literary Translation


Course Code: WLIT-fa22 Categories: , , Tags: ,


“In the act of translating, we come closer to the literary object than anyone else except the writer who has created it; and in so doing, we learn something about ourselves as writers. Writing is an open field of invention, while translation offers a limited space in which to observe and practice the rules of writing. It should come as no surprise that so many writers become translators at some point in their careers. There is no better writer’s workshop.”  –Alice Kaplan

Literary translation is a rewarding intellectual and creative practice. It asks us to pay close attention to many different elements in the original, such as vocabulary, syntax, and rhythm, and to think about the possibilities of transforming our observations into a literary text. Our engagement with literary translation thus requires skill, imagination, and a sensitive reading of the text we are translating.

This class offers an introduction to literary translation: we will compare and contrast multiple translations of a single text, discuss different approaches to translating and explore the practical side of translation through a variety of exercises. You will have developed a deeper appreciation of translation and its complexities at the end of the class.

Barbara Thimm is a writer, translator, and educator. Her translations of selected poems by Timothy Donnelly and Mary Jo Bang were published by luxbooks in Germany. “A Discovery Behind the House,” the translation of a short story by Ror Wolf, appeared in Asymptote. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two sons.

Please Note: In person class will take place at Concord Community Education

Start Date: 9/19/2022, 4 meetings
Class Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Day of Week: Monday
Location: Concord Community Education
Instructor: Barbara Thimm
Status: Running/Openings