When we translate a novel or a poem, we’re also translating a country, a tradition, the society in which this text was formed. We can use translation to subvert our own ideas of what is foreign and what is domestic, but we can also use it to reinforce stereotypes and make the world smaller. A translator can be a smuggler, a secret agent or a saboteur through different languages and cultural empires, but what is the translator really accountable for in this art of conquer and loss? Is literary translation a political act at its core?
Vincenzo Latronico is a writer and translator living in Milan. He has published three novels, a theatre play and a non-fiction book about Ethiopia (with Armin Linke). As a translator, he focuses mainly on new versions of literary classics; after translating H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde and F.S. Fitzgerald, he is currently working on Alexandre Dumas’ Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. He is guest editor of the 2018 Serving Library Annual on “Translation as a medium”.
Sophie Collins grew up in Bergen, North Holland, and now lives in Edinburgh. She is editor of Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), an anthology of contemporary poetry translations, and author of Who Is Mary Sue?, a poetry collection published by Faber & Faber in 2018. She is currently translating a full-length poetry collection, and a novel from the Dutch of Lieke Marsman.
Chair: Claudia Durastanti is a London-based author and translator.