Wednesday, December 12, 2012

CfP: Self-Translation in the Iberian Peninsula

Self-Translation in the Iberian Peninsula
University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, 20-21 September 2013

During recent years self-translation has received growing scholarly attention, analysing the double bilingual and bicultural affiliations of the author-translators, their ideological stances, the stylistic, spatial and temporary reworking and adaptation of the ST, self-censorship or deliberate omissions and expansions. The multilingual and diglossic situation in the Iberian Peninsula offers a perfect intercultural and intracultural milieu to examine the political, cultural and economic implications and consequences of self-translation. Indeed, the interactions between official state languages (Portuguese and Spanish) and non-state languages (Basque, Catalan and Galician) generate a series
of cultural and linguistic tensions affecting notions of hegemony and interdependency between literary polysystems. This may be further problematized by the fact that some self-translations are presented as originals themselves, with both versions ‘competing’ with each other in the same book market, or by the fact that the self-translator’s autonomy to modify the ST for the target audience is less constrained than that of professional translators.

Given their double role/position/affiliation as authors and translators, self-translators are placed in a privileged position to scrutinise peripheral and hegemonic cultural identities. The aim of this conference is to explore the self-translators’ role as cultural mediators between languages of disparate status in the Hispanic and Lusophone context.

Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to:
· Language politics: diglossia, bilinguism, multilinguism
· Language/Cultural planning
· The ideologies of self-translation
· The book market and reception
· Cultural mediation
· National/territorial identities
· Subverting hegemony; centre vs. periphery
· Self-Translation as autonomous recreation
· Authorial voice/intervention/representation

The organisers intend to publish a selection of articles stemming from this conference.

Please email a 200-word abstract of your proposed 20-minute paper or 3-people panel by 31 May 2013 to the organisers, including name, institutional affiliation and contact details:

Dr Olga Castro (Aston University)
Dr Sergi Mainer (University College Cork)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bibliography on Self-translation Update

I just uploaded the last update of the bibliography on self-translation for this year with
60 new entries and new links for online available articles. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this update.

I would like to kindly ask you to leave the bibliographic references as a comment on this post, when you give a talk, publish an article or even a book on self-translation, so that the bibliography can be as complete as possible.

To download the bibliography, please click here

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Le rêve de Kamalmouk », l’autotraduction chez Marius Barbeau

Patricia Godbout will give a talk on self-translation with the title "'Le rêve de Kamalmouk', l’autotraduction chez Marius Barbeau" on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 (3:00 pm - 5:00 pm) in Bologna (Sala Giunta Via Cartoleria 5).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

CfP: The Poetics of Multilingualism – La Poétique du plurilinguisme

The Poetics of Multilingualism – La Poétique du plurilinguisme
International Colloquium, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, 4-5-6 April 2013.

The goal of the conference is to focus on poetical, metrical, and linguistic principles in bilingual and multilingual texts. It aims to present the interactions of different literary traditions with their specific constraints, as well as the way multilingual texts obey or oppose established compositional rules and principles.

Topics include, but are not limited to:
- multilingualism and the birth of vernacular literatures,
- poetical code-switching in multilingual texts
- rhythmic, metrical, and poetic imitation in multilingual poems
- generic classification of multilingual texts in poetical treatises
- multilingualism and polyphonic music
- multilingualism and the birth of vernacular literatures
- multilingualism and glossolalia
- adopting foreign poetical patterns by integrating foreign languages
- oral performance of multilingual texts and reading out multilingual texts
- multilingualism and formulaic language
- multilingualism as a formal constraint: the Oulipo and the plurality of languages

We welcome submissions on all literary periods and languages; special attention will be paid to medieval, early modern, and contemporary European literature.

Abstracts are invited for 40 minute presentations followed by 10-minute question periods. One-page (including references and examples) abstracts in both .doc and .pdf format should be sent to by 31 December 2012.

Submission deadline: 31 December 2012
Notification of acceptance: 30 January 2013
Registration deadline: 15 February 2013.
Conference fee: none

Conference Web Site:

Autotraduzione: teoria ed esempi fra Italia e Spagna (e oltre)

The proceedings of the first conference on self-translation, which took place in Pescara in 2010, are about to be published. You can take a first look at the content of the book on the editor's website. Most of the articles are in Italian, some in Spanish. It covers a wide range of topics: "Linguistica e autotraduzione", "L’autotraduzione: Italia e Spagna", "L’autotraduzione, oltre ...". At the end of the book you find a fantastic name index which allows you to easily find the articles about the self-translators you are working on.

Rubio Árquez, Marcial & Nicola D'Antuono (eds.). 2012. Autotraduzione. Teoria ed esempi fra Italia e Spagna (e oltre). Milano: LED dizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

XXI Encuentro internacional de traductores literarios

Self-translation has been a topic at the XXI Encuentro internacional de traductores literarios. Espacios de la traducción literaria which took place from 26 – 28 September 2012 in México, D.F.:

Hugh Hazelton: "Alberto Kurapel y el teatro bilingüe español-francés en Quebec"
Ricardo Pinto de Souza: "Sobre la autotraducción en Esperando a Godot, de Beckett"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dung Kai Cheung on translating his novel Atlas

Please click here to read an interview with Dung Kai Cheung about the translation of his novel Atlas from Chinese into English, which started as a self-translation and ended in a collaboration with Bonnie McDougall and Anders Hanson. During the interview Dung Kai Cheung affirms that he prefers to be translated rather than self-translate his work: "When I have the choice, I prefer having a translator other than myself."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Prix de la Langue Française for Vassilis Alexakis

The French-Greek self-translator Vassilis Alexakis has been awarded with the Prix the Langue Française 2012.

Further information:
Vassilis Alexakis,lauréat du Prix de la langue française 2012
France 24: Avec Vassilis Alexakis, la Grèce au coeur du dialogue des langues [Alexakis talks about his self-translations]

Conference "Traduire sans papiers"

Self-translation has been a topic at the conference "Traduire sans papiers", which took place from 10 to 12 october 2012 at Lyon, France:

Dirk Weissmann: "Les papiers d’identité (linguistique) d’un écrivain « déraciné et à moitié américain » : exophonieet autotraduction chez Frank Wedekind"

To see the program of the conference, please click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bibliography on self-translation: Update 2012

As promised, I have updated and uploaded the 8th edition of the bibliography on self-translation. 
I would like to kindly ask you to leave the bibliographic references as a comment on this post, when you give a talk, publish an article or even a book on self-translation, so that the bibliography can be as complete as possible.

To download the bibliography, please click here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bibliography on self-translation

I have taken over the responsibility for the bibliography on self-translation. While updating the last version, I made the 7th version (May 2011) available online again. In the future you will find the link for the following versions of the bibliography on this blog. The homepage is no longer updated.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kateryna Aksonova's blog on self-translation

Kateryna Aksonova is a trilingual writer. She writes in Ukrainian and Russian and translates her own plays to English. She has started  a blog to write about her experience as a bilingual writer and as a self-translator.
On her blog you can learn about her reasons for self-translation as well about the advantages and difficulties.

Please click here to visit her very interesting blog.

2012 Postgraduate Conference Crosscurrents

Self-translation has been discussed at the 2012 Postgraduate Conference Crosscurrents: Current Research in the Humanities which took place from 25-26th October at the University of Cape Town:

María Recuenco Peñalver (Translation and Interpreting Department, University of Malaga, Spain): The (con)fusion between Language and Identity: Of Self-Translation and Vasilis Alexakis.

To see the program of the conference, please click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Interview with Vassilis Alexakis

Very interesting interview with Vassilis Alexakis on France Culture about languages and also about self-translation (26min-30min). You can listen to it on France Culture:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Conference on self-translation

Sala Pianoforte, Vicolo Florio, Università degli Studi di Udine
25 et 26 octobre 2012

14.30 Ouverture des travaux
15.00 Pascale SARDIN [Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux3] : Autotraduction et écriture féminine
15.30 Chiara MONTINI [Institut des textes et manuscrits modernes - Paris] : Autotraduction et génétique des textes
16.00 Discussion
16.30 Pause café
17.00 Valeria SPERTI [Università della Basilicata] : Autotraduction et cotraduction
17.30 Eva GENTES [Université de Düsseldorf] : « …et ainsi j’ai décidé de me traduire ». Les moments déclencheursdans la vie littéraire des autotraducteurs
18.00 Discussion

09.00 Rainier GRUTMAN [Université d’Ottawa] : Exil et migration : l’autotraduction déplacée
09.30 Alessandra FERRARO [Università degli Studi di Udine] : « Traduit par l’auteur » : sur le pacte autotraductif
10.00 Discussion
10.30 Pausé café
11.00 L’autotraduction littéraire: perspectives critiques. Table ronde animée par Rainier GRUTMAN et Alessandra FERRARO. Avec la participation de Pascale SARDIN, Chiara MONTINI, Paola PUCCINI, Eva GENTES, Valeria SPERTI.
 13.00 Clôture des travaux

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Alexander Lenard: A trilingual self-translator

I just came across a very interesting article, in which Zsuzsanna Vajdovics discusses the two (!) self-translations Alexander Lenard (1910-1972) created of his autobiograpical novel. First written in German and published in 1963 as "Die Kuh auf dem Bast", then self-translated into English and published in 1965 as "The Valley of the Latin Bear" and last but not least self-translated into Hungarian and published in 1967 as "Völgy a világ végén". Alexander Lenard is thus one of the rare trilingual self-translators. To learn more about him and the differences between these three versions, please read the article (in French) by Zsuzsanna Vajdovics.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu is the first self-translator in my data base who is living in Australia. Born in China in 1955, he moved to Australia in 1991 as a PhD student and is currently working as a writer and translator in Melbourne. He is writing in Chinese and English and has published over 50 works (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, literary criticism, translations) so far.

A bilingual collection of his poetry with the title Self Translation has recently been published by Transit Lounge Publishing. According to his homepage "it is a collection of poems originally written in Chinese, across a span of more than 20 years, that Ouyang translated into English himself, which were later published in such English-speaking countries as Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Canada." (

In 2012 he had published another bilingual collection Bilingual Love: Poems from 1975-2008, but although the English and Chinese poems are printed on facing pages,they are against all expectations not original and translation but truly different poems. (

For more information on the author, take a look at his homepage.
As an example of his poetry, I suggest to read the poem "Translating Myself".

Further reading:
Brennan, Michael (2011) Interview with Ouyang Yu. Available online.
Mangione, Tom (2012): Ouyang Yu: Chinese-Australian Australian-Chinese Poet. In: Talk Magazine. Available online.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Theodor Kallifatides

Theodor Kallifatides was born in 1938 in Greece and moved to Sweden in 1964. He writes his books in Greek and Swedish, thus he is one of the rare authors working with two less widespread and less translated languages. I first came across his name in an article on Greek self-translators (which unfortunately is no longer online) and tried to find out more about his self-translations. Unfortunately I neither speak Greek or Swedish, so when Alex Plasatis contacted me on my blog I asked him if he can check some Greek sources. He came across a great interview with Kallifatides conducted in Greek, available on youtube and he was so kind to transcribe and translate some passages for this blog:

Language choice
- [A]lthough I have written in Swedish for so many years now, about forty years now, inside me I still have the feeling that my self, my true self, my true feelings, my true rhythm – they all lay in the Greek language. So when I write in Swedish, I have this sensation of non-fullness. 

- In the beginning I wrote in Greek, then adapted* the Greekness of my writing in Swedish [*Here, Kallifatides does not use the word ‘μεταφράζω’ which means ‘translate’; instead, he uses the word ‘μεταγλωτίζω’, which, literary, it means ‘trans-languagism’ and could be translated as ‘adaptaion’.] Now I am doing the opposite: I write first in Swedish, then adapt it into Greek.

- [F]or my Greek publications I do not want to write a book that will appear to be written by a Swedish writer and has been translated by someone into Greek. For my Greek publications, I want to write like a Greek writer. Therefore I change things. It does not work to simply translate my books into Greek. I want to re-write them. During the process of the adaptation, there are changes regarding state of affairs, characters, jokes, references, sometimes even the ending. Many things change.

Reasons for changes
Q. Has this got to do with the language itself or is it because you look again at your own work?A. Both. Of course, a fresh look in your own work will definitely reshape it – when you look at your own work objectively, that is. But it is also the language itself that will bring about changes: the rhythm of the Greek language is different, its efficacy is different, the images are different.

Simultaneous publication / Method of self-translation
- In the last few years, I have realised that, because of this process of re-writing from Swedish to Greek, my books became better. So I say to myself, ‘Why hurry the Swedish publication of my books? I will always do this re-writing.’ So I write my books in Swedish first, then re-write them in Greek, then back in Swedish, and send them for publication. This is what I do. And these are my best books, regarding the literary aspect at least.

[Many thanks to Alex Plasatis for sharing his transcription and translation!]

The interview shows that Kallifatides is a regular self-translator. Moving to Sweden he continued to write in his first language and translated his work into Greek. Later he inversed the process. In each language he is aware of his intended readers thus in his self-translations he adapts his work for the respective audience. The statement "Many things change" confirms the well-known tendency of self-translators to take liberties while translating. Because of the degree of these changes Kallifatides prefers to speak of adaptation instead of translation.

Alex Plasatis is a part-time Ph.d. student in Creative Writing at De Montfort University in Leicester, U.K. One of his short stories has been published in Overheard - Stories to read aloud, edited by Jonathan Taylor.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bibliography on self-translation

As you may have noticed the website with the bibliography is currently down. It will be back with an updated version of the bibliography next month. I will post as soon as it is available again. If you need it before, leave a comment and I will send you the last version via mail.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Memory, The United States and Transnational Poetics

Self-translation has been discussed at the conference Memory, The United States and Transnational Poetics which took place from 29-30 June in Bochum, Germany:

Alexandra Berlina: "Self-Translations in Close Reading: Iosif Brodskii / Joseph Brodsky"

The abstract of the talk is available online. Please click here to read it. You have to click on the title in order for the abstract to appear.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"I certainly don’t rewrite" - Brodsky on self-translation

I came across a very interesting interview with Joseph Brodsky, which has been published in The Paris Review in 1982. Brodsky describes how he resists any attempt to correct his poems while self-translating them from Russian into English, as according to him also "[w]eaknesses have a certain function in a poem" (Paris Review 1982). Please click here to read the entire interview.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Colloque international « Nancy Huston : le soi multiple »

Self-translation was also a topic at an international conference on Nancy Huston, which took place June 8-9, 2012 in Paris. The last session of the conference was dedicated to discuss self-translation and included the following contributions:
  • Chiara Elefante (Université de Bologne, Italie): "En italique dans le texte": l’auto-traduction de Nancy Huston, un jeu entre deux langues
  • Christine Evain (Ecole Centrale de Nantes): L’auto-traduction de La Virevolte : idiomatismes et libertés
  • Muguras Constantinescu (Université Stefan cel Mare de Suceava, Roumanie): (Auto)Traduire sans faille Lignes de faille - Quête de langue(s),quête d’identité(s)

For more information please click here

ASEEES annual conference 2012

According to the preliminary program of the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (taking place November 15–18 2012 in New Orleans), there will be a section on self-translation on Thursday with the title: "Crossing the Boundaries of Language and Self: Bilingual Russian Émigré Writers as Translators of Their Own Work" with the following contributions:

  • Anastasia Lakhtikova: "Understanding Vladimir Nabokov‟s Self-Translation: Lessons from the Archive"
  • Eugenia Kelbert, Yale University: "Joseph Brodsky as an English Poet: Self-Translation and the Translation of the Self"
  • Adrian J. Wanner, Pennsylvania State University: "Self-Translation among the New Wave of Russian-American Immigrant Writers: The Case of Michael Idov"
Please click here to see the preliminary program for Thursday.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Call for Papers "Greece in Translation"

Self-translation is listed among one of the possible topics for the conference "Greece in Translation" which will take place from October 5-6, 2012 at the University of Oxford.
Deadline for the submission of abstracts (250-300 words): 30 June 2012

For more information, please click here.

Research Seminar: “Dante’s Epic Ironies: Poetics, Metapoetics, Self-Translation"

On Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm Simone Marchesi will give a research seminar with the title “Dante’s Epic Ironies: Poetics, Metapoetics, Self-Translation" in the Hesburgh Library in South Bend, Indiana.
For more information, please click here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

" If something doesn’t work, you can change it."

Lene Kaaberbøl is a Danish writer of juvenile fantasy novels, which she has self-translated into English. Her first crime fiction novel Drengen i kufferten (2008), co-written with Agnete Friis, and recently translated by Lene Kaaberbøl into English as The Boy in the Suitcase (2011), won the Harald Mogensen Award for Best Danish Crime Novel in 2009. In an interview with Jordan Foster (Publisher's Weekly), she explains that she enjoys the liberties she can take when translating her own work into English: "you get to cheat".

Jordan Foster (2011): The Copenhagen Connection: PW Talks with Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis. In: Publisher's Weekly, Sep 16, 2011.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nancy Huston Book presentation in Germany

Nancy Huston is going to present the German translation Infrarot of her novel Infrarouge/Infrared in Germany this summer:

25.06.2012 Heidelberg, Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut at 8 p.m.
26.06.2012 Frankfurt, Romanfabrik at 8.30 p.m.
27.06.2012 Berlin at Institut français Berlin, 7 p.m.
28.06.2012 Dresden, medien@age - Die neue Dresdner Jugendbiliothek, at 8 p.m.
29.06.2012 Magdeburg

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nancy Huston: new book and lecture

Nancy Huston has just published a new book Reflets dans un oeil d'homme (Actes Sud), which teeters on the edge of novel and essay. I couldn't find any information whether or not it will be published in English too.
She will present her new book on Thursday, May 10 at 6:30 pm at the library Apostrophe in Chaumont, France. Please click here to find more information.

To read an extract, please click here.
Press reviews:
L'Express (25.04.2012)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Urdu-English poetry

Dr. Irfan Khaja Moinuddin has published his Urdu-English poetry collection “Ilham: Inspired Verses” in a bilingual edition in November 2011. The poems have been written in Urdu and have been translated by the author. To learn more about this collection, please read the press release. You can take a look insight this book on amazon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

L'autotraduzione in Canada

Filippo Salvatore will talk about "L'autotraduzione in Canada"  on May 15 at the University Udine in Italy.

For more information:

L’autotraduction chez Nancy Huston

"L’autotraduction et la problématique d’identité chez Nancy Huston" is the title of a conference talk by Katayoun Asari next week at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Conference: "Colloque des étudiants de maîtrise et de doctorat"
Place: University of Waterloo, Canada
Date: April, 27

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Monica de la Torre on self-translation

Monica de la Torre has written an article on her experience of self-translation, that will be published in the next issue (N°81) of the journal Translation Review. While trying to find out more about Monica de la Torre, I came across an interesting post by Susan Bernofsky on her blog Translationista. Susan Bernofsky attended a talk by de la Torre last year, where she shared some interesting insights in her process of self-translation. If you want to find out how google translator can sometimes be accidentally genius, please read the entire post on Translationista. I am looking forward to read Monica de la Torre's article.

Monday, April 9, 2012

ACLA conference 2012

Self-translation has been discussed in two talks at the 2012 American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, which took place from March 29 to April 1, 2012 at the Brown University, Providence:

Jennifer Raterman, Rutgers University “Pseudonym as Self-Translation in Romain Gary’s La Promesse de l’aube”

Marlene Hansen Esplin, Michigan State University“The Status of the Self-Translated Text in U.S. and Latin American Literatures”

Friday, March 9, 2012

Basque self-translators

Several Basque self-translators will be present at a conference on the future of the Basque language taking place in Madrid from 13-15 March 2012.
On Wednesday 14th March at 8 pm the writers Mariasun Landa, Arantxa Urretabizkaia, Eider Rodriguez and Miren Agur Meabe will discuss "La creación en el país vasco: utopías y desafios".
To see the full program, please click here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Call for papers: Arena Romanistica

Arena Romanistica is an international peer-reviewed journal published by the Department of Foreign Languages, University of Bergen. In its next issue Arena Romanistica wishes to focus on translation. One of the possible topics is self-translation. 
Call Deadline: 01-Mar-2012
Please find the complete call for papers here.
Stylesheet and submission procedures are available at the website: