Translation Duel: In the Translation Ring

The project “In the Translation Ring” (U prevodilačkom ringu) consists of a series of translation duels. No worries, no swords just words.

How does it work?

The moderator (or “arbiter”) decides on the text that will be translated and sends it to the two duellists a few weeks before the event. They send them back the translated text week before the event (or a message “just one more day, please”) so the moderator can decide on the talking points for the event. At the event, the original text and both translations are presented to the audience. Different solutions are discussed, as well as the translation process itself, peculiarities of certain genres, challenges of “translating” cultural differences and much more. Our first events were held live, but due to a pandemic, we, later on, moved to virtual space. However, this form works great in both ways, so virtuality has in no way damaged its dynamics.

What do we translate?

All forms of literary texts, short stories, extract of novels or poems. Until now, we had Duels dedicated to poetry, canonical texts, science fiction/fantasy, literature for children, contemporary novels etc. We held Duels for the translators from English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German, and the target language is always Croatian.

Why do we do that?

We believe, and experience has shown, that this is a great way to promote literary translators and to demonstrate why literary translation is a legitimate form of art. The audience gets to see two different translations that are both valid but can lead to a very different reading experience, and thus become aware of the role of translators and of the importance of having a good translation.

Second, it’s not often that a translator gets a chance to see “their” text translated differently. It’s very illuminating, and we have learned a lot in the process, be that as participants or as the audience.

And last but not least, it’s fun.

What is the cost of the project?

Around 500 € per event. We held 10 events to date.

P.S. No translator was harmed during this project.

You can check some of the events on the following links:

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