“Cultural Translation” Symposium at the Nida School

For the last few years, the Nida School of Translation Studies has put on a yearly symposium and invited some big names from the world of translation and translation studies to speak. Named for Eugene Nida, whose career took him from Bible translation to translator training for the UN, the Nida School is part of the American Bible Society in New York.

I don’t usually blog this symposium because admission comes with a hefty price tag ($75) that puts it out of reach for many translators (and isn’t a symposium supposed to be something an institution puts on as a public service, without charging admission at all?). But there are good people speaking, so I’m spreading the word anyhow; if this annoys you, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

This year’s symposium features two speakers (Robert JC Young and Bella Brodzki) and two respondents (Christi A. Merrill and Suzanne Jill Levine). Young is a British postcolonial theorist and cultural critic who teaches translation studies (among other things) at NYU. Bella Brodzki is a scholar of critical and literary theory who teaches translation studies (among other things) at Sarah Lawrence and is the author of a book I really loved when it came out a few years ago: Can These Bones Live?: Translation, Survival, and Cultural Memory, about the uses of translation for literature (particularly the intergenerational literature of memorialization and mourning) not only as a theme and device but as a textual strategy.

Their two respondents are equally illustrious: Christi A. Merrill, a translator and translation theorist who teaches at the University of Michigan and is the author of Riddles of Belonging: India in Translation and Other Tales of Possession; and Suzanne Jill Levine, a well-known translator from the Spanish and author of The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction who recently established a translation studies program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she teaches.

Sounds like a great program, doesn’t it? The symposium will be held on Friday, September 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at The College Board, 45 Columbus Ave. at 61st St. For more information or to register, visit the Nida School’s website. And who knows, maybe for that fee they’ll throw in lunch.

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