Roundtable on literary translation

This event was held on Friday 9th June, and streamed online via Zoom. It was interpreted live by M.A. and MSc students, with the spoken interpreters working either remotely or on-site in the LINCS interpreting labs. There were 61 registrations for the event, with a mixture of university students and school pupils, and 150 views of the follow-up recordings.

The session showcased home-grown talents both through the panel and through the interpreting provided, and it also highlighted the existence of a dynamic research community. Panellists enjoyed the event and those who were not familiar with interpreting were impressed to witness the complexities of this activity.

Student interpreters also had a chance to network with the speakers over lunch, and were able to gain some experience of the challenges of a real, online remote interpreted event, with the support of colleagues to help them through – José Mari for the spoken interpreting  team, and Stacey for the BSL team.  

The panel was composed of the following contributors:  

  • Owen Harrington-Fernandez, who focused on his work on translating for a young audience, and the ways to translate various voices. Owen also talked about current research on literary translation. 
  • Maike Hopp, LINCS graduate, who currently combines conference interpreting and translation with her early career in literary translation. Maike shared her insight on the differences between these various forms of expert linguist work, and how complementary they can be nonetheless.  
  • Leri Price (current PhD student at Heriot-Watt and award-winning literary translator) and Esther Tyldesley (experienced award-winning literary translator) explored the challenges and strategies adopted when translating from languages (Arabic and Chinese respectively) which not only work very differently compared to English, but also entail concepts and references that are very culturally specific.  
  • Vineet Lal (MSc graduate, contributing teacher and experienced translator shortlisted recently for an award), who delved into the challenges of translating children’s literature and how to be faithful to a text in which musicality matters as much as meaning. 
  • Clémentine Beauvais (experienced translator and established writer) discussed her approach to translating poetry and how her own writing work feeds into her translation work and vice-versa.  

While the speakers had an opportunity to share their experience of literary translation, the audience enjoyed the detailed presentations by experts in this field, and also got the chance to experience an interpreted event. The student interpreters had an opportunity to practice their interpreting and also to network with the speakers. The roundtable discussion was a great success and we hope to organise another similar event next year.