The Art of Literary Translation


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Course Code: WLIT 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

Are you interested in reading and writing? Did you study a foreign language but haven’t used it for many years? Literary translation is a rewarding intellectual and creative practice. It asks us to pay close attention to a wide variety of elements in the original, such as vocabulary, syntax, rhythm, and to think about the possibilities of transforming our observations into a new literary text.

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 try our hand at a translation project. By the end of the class, you will have developed a deeper understanding of many facets of literary translation practice. All language levels are welcome.

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.

Start Date: 04/28/22, 5 meetings
Class Time: 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Day of Week: Thursday
Location: Hybrid Class: Student Choice of Zoom or Classroom
Instructor: Barbara Thimm
Status: Closed