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Translating Cultures

Warwick's translation scholars have helped to shape the discipline since it was founded in 1976. By combining theory and practice, our translators have developed new ways of interpreting and presenting translations from writers in various languages from Turkish to Polish and German. These translations have brought new authors and writings to English-speaking audiences, expanding the cultural awareness and imagination of readers around the world. The group is also dedicated to improving standards of professional translators.

In 1980, Warwick's Susan Bassnett published Translation Studies, a survey of the field's theoretical developments and discussions about translation strategies. The textbook remained the standard text in the discipline for more than two decades. Since then, Professor Bassnett, now Emeritus, has published more than 25 books and countless articles which have guided Translation Studies throughout its formative years as a scholastic discipline. Translation Studies scholars have Professor Bassnett to thank for the interdisciplinary nature of the field, which began when Bassnett and fellow scholar Andre Lefevere published Translation, History and Culture in 1990, which introduced the 'cultural turn' asserting that translations needed to be considered in their social, cultural and political contexts.

In 2011, the Literature, Travel and Translation Symposium was organised to celebrate the contribution of Susan Bassnett to the field of Translation Studies. In this Audio Podcast, Susan Bassnett reflects on the Symposium. All the Symposium podcasts are available here.

Warwick's translators have introduced new authors and their works to English readers around the world. By translating writings by culturally-important foreign language authors, Michael Hulse, Tony Howard and Maureen Freely have raised the global profile and increased their critical recognition of the German language authors W.G. Sebald, Elfirede Jelinek and Herta Muller, the Polish poets Tadeusz Rozewicz and Ewa Lipska, and the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Starting in 2004, Freely has translated 5 of Pamuk's novels and numerous essays into English, bringing the author to prominence in the English-speaking world. Her translation of Museum of Innocence was winner of the Best Translated Book Award 2010 and shortlisted for The Independent's Foreign Fiction Prize. Pamuk was awarded the Novel Prize for Literature in 2006.

Listen to an Audio Podcast of Maureen Freely discussing translating Orhan Pamuk's novels.

Poet and translator Michael Hulse was the first English translator of the German-born writer W.G. Sebald. Hulse translated Sebald's The Emigrants into English in 1996, introducing Sebald's distinct writing style - which combines memoir, fiction, travelogue, history and biography - for the first time to English-speaking readers. Since then, Sebald's work (also translated into English by Hulse were The Rings of Saturn, 1998, and Vertigo, 1999) has influenced a generation of English-language writers. Hulse also translated German-language writers Elfriede Jelinek and Herta Muller who were both awarded the Novbel Prize for Literature, 2004 and 2009 respectively.

With translator Barbara Bogoczek, Tony Howard has translated and edited numerous works of Polish prose and poetry anthologies into English since 1991. Among these are works by some of Poland's most celebrated contemporary writers, including Ewa Lipska and Tadeusz Rozewicz. They were asked by the New York Times to commission and translate poems by Lipska to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2011, they translated Lipska's A Bird for 'Poems on the Underground, and international cultural programme to celebrate the Polish presidency of the EU. Their translation of Tadeusz Rozewicz's memoir Mother Departs was launched at the London Literary Festival in May 2013. A public reading of an excerpt from the work led to an invitation for submission to the non-fiction section of the People's Book Prize, which altered its regulations to allow for translations to be nominated.