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OSTI 2021


Together Again (from afar)

September 17-19, 2021 - Main Conference

October 1-3, 2021 - Literary Translation Focus Weekend

via Zoom

Conference Main Page

Literary Translation Focus Weekend - (10/1/2021 - 10/3/2021)

Speaker Bios & Session Abstracts

Session 402

Óscar Curros

The Journey of the Book Translator and Interpreter


Óscar Curros is a journalist and translator born and raised in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He is the Chief Spanish Translator of CIS Interpreters, a West Hollywood interpreting and translation agency. Óscar Curros lived for 11 years in Brazil, where he translated for the Spanish newspaper El País and contributed to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, among other clients. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Santiago de Compostela, a master’s degree in Strategic Communications Management from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and a master’s degree in Human Rights Education from the University of Brasilia, Brazil. Óscar Curros is the Spanish translator of the Brazilian classic Sua Majestade, o Intérprete (His Highness, the Interpreter, not available in English yet) by Ewandro Magalhães. The translation has been published as Su Alteza, el Intérprete.

Session Abstract

Translating a book requires planning, teamwork, and appropriate quality assurance processes. The translator must assess the text in advance to be aware of the main challenges posed by the project. Planning how to manage the project from the beginning will allow better time allocation for each task. It is also important to adequately configure the team that will be involved in the process of revision and proofreading. Teamwork is a win-win method because the translator learns from others while interacting with them. This is closely related to the quality assurance methods addressed. Since each project requires a specific approach, several different situations will be discussed.

Session 404

Dr. Ghada Mourad, Jill Alexander Essbaum Peng, Mary Jane White, Caroline Reul Wilcox, and Allison A. deFreese

Poetry Translation & Publication Panel


Ghada Mourad is an academic and literary translator. She teaches French and Humanities at the University of California, Irvine and translates from Arabic and French. Her translations have appeared in Asymptote, Two Lines, The Common, Pen English, Denver Quarterly, among others.

Jill Alexander Essbaum is the author of several collections of poetry including Heaven (winner of the Katherine Bakeless Nason prize), Necropolis, Harlot, and most recently Would-Land. Her first novel, Hausfrau, was a New York Times Bestseller and has been translated into 26 languages. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals including Poetry, The Christian Century, Image, and The Rumpus, and has been included in textbooks and anthologies including The Best American Erotic Poems and two editions of the annual Best American Poetry antholog. A two-time NEA fellow, Jill is a core faculty member in University of California, Riverside's low-residency MFA program.

Caroline Wilcox Reul is the translator of In the Morning We are Glass, by Andra Schwarz (Zephyr Press, 2021) and Wer lebt / Who Lives by Elisabeth Borchers (Tavern Books, 2017), both from the German. She was awarded the Summer/Fall 2018 Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation and Multilingual Texts. Her translations have appeared in the PEN Poetry Series, Lunch Ticket, The Los Angeles Review, Exchanges, Waxwing, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Columbia Journal, and others.

Mary Jane White holds an MFA Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has received NEA Fellowships in both poetry and translation. Her translations of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva include: Starry Sky to Starry Sky (Holy Cow! Press, 1988) New Year’s, an elegy for Rilke (Adastra Press, 2007); Poem of the Hill (The New England Review); Poem of the End (The Hudson Review), reprinted in Poets Translate Poets, (Syracuse 2013) and forthcoming in March of 2020 from Adelaide Books (NYC/Lisbon), a new translation of After Russia, (Paris, 1928), Tsvetaeva’s last collection of short lyric verse.

Recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, Allison A. deFreese coordinates literary translation workshops for OSTI. She has previously held a James A. Michener Writing Fellowship in Poetry and Playwriting, won the 2020 Pub House Books (Montreal) International Chapbook Manuscript Contest, and was a Finalist for Poetry International's 2021 International Chapbook Prize. Allison has published poetry manuscripts in translation with both national and international literary publishers and presses. Her literary translations of work by Latin American writers also appear in: Asymptote, Arkana, Arkansas International, Columbia Journal, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast Magazine, Harvard Review, and Waxwing.

Session Abstract

In this panel discussions, five poets and literary translators will discuss the pleasures and pitfalls of translating poetry, as well as their personal journeys to literary publication. During the last half hour of the presentation, the panel will be open to questions from literary translators in the audience.

Session 502

Dr. Ileana Marin

Trauma-informed Translation of Eastern European Women’s Fiction


Ileana Marin teaches interdisciplinary courses at the University of Washington, Seattle, and at the Center of Excellence in Image Studies in Bucharest. She has published books on tragic myths, Pre-Raphaelite artists, and Victorian aesthetics of erasure. Marin has participated in international conferences with papers on the dehumanizing power of art and the artistic legacy of communism as well as on the materiality of literary, pictorial, and graphic texts. Recently, she has focused on E-Literature and digital arts. After presenting the paper “Romanian Literature in Post-1989 English Translation” at the 2020 MLA conference, she has taken on translating Romanian female writers who are underrepresented in English. Marin’s translation In the Shadow of a Bright Future, an autobiographical text by Sanda Cordoş, is forthcoming in Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation this year. She is currently translating Doina Rusti’s novel The Ghost in the Mill whose first chapter is published in the 2021 Spring Issue of Your Impossible Voice. As the review editor of the Romanian American Journal for the Humanities, Marin has made her mission to promote original and impactful scholarship as well as valuable translations which contribute to the cultural exchange across the Atlantic. Contributor to literary journals both in English and Romanian (Entropy, 8 Motive) and active participant in literary groups Readings from the Heart of Europe and UW Translation Studies Hub, Ileana Marin is an avid reader of translations.

Session Abstract

Contemporary world literature has brought to prominence women writers concerned with human trafficking, sexual assault, violence, inequality, systemic prejudice, discrimination, and other forms of abuse. While interpreting for international criminal courts translators have to exchange the neutral approach of the legal jargon with a highly subjective tone in individuals’ testimonies, literary translators seem to deal with only one style, that pertaining to a writer who gives voice to the victim, tells the story of a traumatic event, or narrates their own experience. Employing Venuti’s concepts of “domestication” and “foreignization”, I will engage with traumatic accounts from Herta Muller’s Passport, Slavenka Drakulic’s S. A Novel about the Balkans, and Doina Rusti’s The Ghost in the Mill in their English translations. Fully aware that each culture has its way of expressing suffering, pain, despair, and dehumanization, literary translators are most likely to wrestle with their version of a traumatic episode as they try to resist the temptation of domestication to a Western-conceptualization of trauma. I claim that the major challenge for a translator is to grasp the meaning of trauma which, according to Rogers’ “The Unsayable.” The Hidden Language of Trauma (2007), lies both in what is said and in what cannot be said. Even though my case studies originate in Eastern Europe, their protagonists and contexts cannot be simply framed as a Western understanding of trauma. I also argue that translating trauma is the most challenging aspect for translators as expressions of trauma are rooted in history, culturally informed gender dynamic, political and ideological contexts, power relations design, and previous artistic representations.

Session 504

Dr. Marella Feltrin-Morris

Translation as a Pathway to Ethics and Social Engagement in Antonio Tabucchi’s Pereira Maintains


Marella Feltrin-Morris is Associate Professor of Italian at Ithaca College, specializing in modern Italian literature and translation. She holds PhDs in Comparative Literature and in Translation Studies, both from Binghamton University. Among her recent work are the articles “Pereira traduttore e l’etica della visibilità” (Forum Italicum, 2019) and “Welcome Intrusions: Capturing the Unexpected in Translators’ Prefaces to Dante’s Divine Comedy" (Tusaaji, 2018). Her translations of works by Luigi Pirandello, Massimo Bontempelli, Paola Masino, Stefano Benni, Dacia Maraini, Davide Rondoni and Fabio Pusterla have appeared in North American Review, Exchanges, Two Lines and Green Mountains Review, among other journals.

Session Abstract

Most of the criticism generated by Antonio Tabucchi’s 1994 novel, Sostiene Pereira (Eng: Pereira Maintains) has focused on the protagonist’s development from an initial position of non-commitment to one of courageous involvement in the social and political scene. Indeed, Pereira, a journalist and intellectual in 1930s Portugal, chooses to abandon the cowardly safety of a complacent culture, and at last denounces the crimes of Salazar’s regime. What criticism has not sufficiently emphasized so far, however, is a fundamental detail in the novel, one which is key to a deeper understanding of Pereira’s change: his activity as a translator. At the most, it is mentioned in connection to his earlier, invisible self. Drawing from existentialist notions of freedom and responsibility, a close reading of Sostiene Pereira (with references to its translations into English, Spanish, and other languages), as well as Tabucchi’s own statements on translation and the task of the intellectual, this presentation aims to show not only how Pereira’s choices as a translator testify to his growing maturity as a responsible and socially-engaged individual, but also how translation itself constitutes the very backbone of this novel as a whole.

Session 506

Gabriela Siebach

Maintaining a Career as a Language Professional: An Endless Journey


Gabriela Siebach, Conference Interpreting Services Manager at Cesco Linguistic Services, has accumulated more than 15 years of professional experience as a linguist, interpreter, translator, trainer, coach, and mentor. She has spearheaded the development of multiple training and assessment programs throughout her career. Gabriela holds a graduate degree in Spanish translation and interpretation from the world-renowned Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. A Board member of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (2019-2021), she currently leads various Council initiatives as Chair of the Policy, Education & Research Committee. Gabriela also Co-chairs the Interpreting and Translation in Education Workgroup Job Task Analysis Committee.

The most recent crisis has made our need to grow and adapt ever more apparent.

Session Abstract

Whether you are new to the language industry or a seasoned interpreter or translator, maintaining a successful career as a language professional requires constant effort and adaptation. One of the most difficult challenges we face is the constant change that both plagues and improves our industry. In this presentation, participants will learn strategies to stay abreast of the changes in our industry and maintain a successful career as a professional interpreter or translator.

Session 602

Lúcia Collischonn & Regina Fleck

Collaborative translators under the microscope: a self-assessment comparative analysis of two exophonic translations of Machado de Assis's Academies of Siam


Lúcia is a Brazilian-German translator and first-year PhD student in Translation Studies within the department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. She takes special academic and professional interest in Exophony in creative writing and translation, that is, writing literature in a foreign language and translation into and out of one’s mother tongue. Exophony was the theme of both her Master’s dissertation and her current PhD research, entitled With Apologies to My Mother Tongue: L2 Translation as an exophonic practice. She has special interest in the works of Yoko Tawada, having recently translated two texts by the author, the novel Etüden im Schnee (2016), published in Brazil in 2019, Yoko Tawada Does Not Exist, and Der erste Nachtgesang. Research interests include: translation theory and practice, literary theory, contemporary and world literature, Portuguese-language literatures, German-language literatures, transnational literature and adaptation studies.

Regina Fleck is a Brazilian translator and Master in Modern Languages at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Her main academic interests include narratology and literary translation, especially theatrical translation, which is the theme of her Master's dissertation. She is currently working on an annotated translation of George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara. Along with her research group, she has translated Mário de Andrade’s Tales of Belazarte into English, which was published in 2016, and Mieke Bal’s Narratology into Portuguese, which is set to be published in Brazil next year.

Session Abstract

Machado de Assis, one of the most renowned Brazilian authors, contributed with a rich array of short stories. His novels have been widely translated and retranslated, but there are still obscure parts of his work that have not yet surfaced and which are deserving of attention, especially among his short stories. One of these is Academies of Siam, a rarity among his works for its setting in ancient times, in the Far East kingdom of Siam. This exotic facade was what sparked our curiosity towards this tale in 2009, when we translated it into English, as part of our second-semester Brazilian literature module early in our undergraduate degree. Nine years later, in 2018, we revisited this translation to publish it in a translation journal. In the meantime, the first translation of this short story came out in English, by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson (2018). This paper will shed light on the process of translation, support the retranslation hypothesis (Berman, 1990) and offer an insight into the blackbox of the translator's minds through an auto-analysis of the differences between the two versions, framing it under translator studies, analysing differences in our language competence, interpretations of the source text, cultural and literary references and the different contexts of production and reception. Through analysing our own different texts and the very different people we were behind these texts in time and context, we could make a point towards teaching and learning translation, self-awareness as translators, and also about how language and cultural competence are not strict, stationary ideas, but forever evolving aspects of an individual's translational endeavours. We will also broach the collaborative aspect of our work, as well as the topic of L2 translation, or exophonic translation, and how it is affected by language and cultural competence and awareness in our own case study. In this way, we propose to put ourselves under the microscope and hopefully help others see their own work in such a way.

Session 604

Mary Jane White

Marina Tsvetaeva and Sophia Parnok: Literary Girlfriends


Mary Jane White holds an MFA Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has received NEA Fellowships in both poetry and translation. Her translations of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva include: Starry Sky to Starry Sky (Holy Cow! Press, 1988) New Year’s, an elegy for Rilke (Adastra Press, 2007); Poem of the Hill (The New England Review); Poem of the End (The Hudson Review), reprinted in Poets Translate Poets, (Syracuse 2013) and forthcoming in March of 2020 from Adelaide Books (NYC/Lisbon), a new translation of After Russia, (Paris, 1928), Tsvetaeva’s last collection of short lyric verse.

Marina Tsvetaeva (1982-1941) was a Russian poet admired by Joseph Brodsky: “Well, if you are talking about the twentieth century, I’ll give you a list of poets. Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva (and she is the greatest one, in my view. The greatest poet in the twentieth century was a woman.) . . . .” Marina Tsvetaeva’s original poems are from the Russica Edition (NYC 1979) of Tsvetaeva’s Collected Lyrics and Poems in Five Volumes, translated under a purchased license.

Session Abstract

This presentation will explore Russian Poetry from the Silver Age: The 1914-1915 exchange of love poems between Marina Tsvetaeva and Sophia Parnok.


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