Prose Translation Workshop and Literary Translation Seminar in Riga

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2019, December 4

Prose Translation Workshop and Literary Translation Seminar in Riga

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2nd - 4th December, the Latvian Literature platform held a workshop for translators of prose from Latvian into Polish welcoming eight students from Poland to the House of Languages. 6th - 8th December, Riga will be hosting an annual translators’ meeting with 32 literary translators of Latvian literature.

During the prose translation workshop, students of Baltic philology and Latvian philology from Warszaw and Poznań were acquiring practical translation skills taught by poet and translator Ingmāra Balode as well as discussing different types of translation problems and learning more about Latvian literature. During the trip, the young translators also had a tour around the National Library. Prose translation workshops in Latvia were first organized in 2017 when Latvia was preparing to visit the London Book Fair and the translations of Latvian literature into English had become highly sought after. Due to various such initiatives, over 40 works have been published in English, and now we can focus on other languages as well: “We have very few professionals translating into Polish while there are nearly 50 million Polish-speakers in the world. It is a huge untapped market. I am glad to hear that Polish schools offer Latvian lessons, and we would like to proactively involve the young students to translate our literary works,” Latvian Literature representative Juta Pīrāga explained. She also emphasized that the translators are some of the best ambassadors of Latvian literature and culture abroad altogether. 

6th - 8th December, Latvia will host the annual translators’ welcoming translators of Latvian literature representing 14 languages – Italian, English, Croatian, German, Japanese, Armenian, Polish, Finnish, Czech, Russian, Estonian, French, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian. While in Riga, the guests will be attending seminars on the latest Latvian prose, poetry and children’s’ literature books, meeting Latvian authors and publishers, visit the National Library and several events at the “Prose Readings” festival. “The translators meeting each other is the most important thing in these visits so they get to share their experience and discuss the difficulties translators come across daily. One of the keynote speakers, for example, is Sigita Kušnere who will be telling us about her collaboration with the German translator Berthold Forssman while working on “Straumēni”, a novel by Edvarts Virza”  Pīrāga divulged.