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Friday, October 30 • 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Trafficking in meaning: the importance of context

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What do translators need to know about the historical, cultural, societal, geographical, and literary spaces in which writing occurs to render meaning effectively? Three translators analyze the role of understanding context as part of the process of translating literature. Each panelist will talk about a different author and different circumstances. Mary Berg, editor/co-editor as well as translator for three anthologies of Cuban short fiction, discusses her recent translations of work by Adelaida (Laidi) Fernández de Juan. The author’s writing about her experiences as a Cuban doctor in Zambia and her experimentation with minicuentos are both part of the contextual challenge. Elizabeth Lowe, translator of works from Portuguese (Euclides Da Cunha, Backlands: The Canudos Campaign, Penguin, 2010 and Happy People in Tears, by João de Melo, Tagus, May 2015) discusses navigating the context of the Azorean diaspora during the period of the Salazar dictatorship and the Portuguese wars in Africa in the translation of the Azorean writer João de Melo’s most recent novel. Anne Fountain, translator of works by José Martí, both poetry and prose, discusses what she found in looking at recent translations into English of Martí’s works, and gives example of how considering texts out of context, whether through a restrictive critical lens or from lack of background information can create distortions.


Friday October 30, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm MST

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