Guggenheim Forum on Translation

In conjunction with its current show Found in Translation (which will be getting its own blog entry here soon), the Guggenheim museum is currently hosting an online discussion of translation entitled “Word for Word” as its current Guggenheim forum. Robert Lane Greene, author of You Are What You Speak, is moderating a panel of translation scholars including N. Katherine Hayles, Anthony Pym and Biljana Scott. The choice of panelists shows an interest not so much in the literary side of translation as in its communicative function in the real world of diplomacy and the media, but the central question being explored, “How does translation find its role as an essential tool in a globalized world?” will resonate to many with echoes e.g. of the presidential theme of the 2009 Modern Language Association Conference, “The Tasks of Translation in the Global Context.” And in fact the sorts of examples cited by Greene in his opening remarks (e.g. the problematic political consequences of the fact that the etymological root “cross” in the word “crusade” appears more emphatically when this word is translated into other languages) are very much of interest and concern to literary translators as well. The conversations on “Word for Word” will be continuing all this week, with a special live chat taking place on Thursday, April 14, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. This chat will feature Robert Lane Greene with Anthony Pym, who is both a scholar of translation history and theory and actively involved in the training of translators at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Should be interesting, so check it out on the Guggenheim website.

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