Riga Hosts Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Prose Translation Workshops


2020, July 14

Riga Hosts Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian Prose Translation Workshops

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This week, the “Latvian Literature” platform is organizing a prose translation workshops in Riga, welcoming students from Tartu and Vilnius universities interested in translating Latvian literature.

From 13th till 15th July, a prose workshop for young translators from Lithuania will take place in which translator Laura Laurušaitė will be teaching eight students of Latvian from Vilnius University. From 16th till 18th July, six students of Latvian from Tartu University will be welcome in Riga to work on their translations from Latvian into Lithuanian together with the translator Aive Mandel. Laura Laurušaitė has translated Nora Ikstena’s novel “Soviet Milk” from Latvian into Lithuanian, while Aive Mandel has made Inga Gaile’s novel “Glass Shards” available to the readers in Estonia.

In preparation for the workshops, the students have been asked to prepare homework and  translate short fragments of works of Latvian literature. During the sessions, the students and their tutors will be going over translation problems occurring in the process of translating as well as discussing various approaches in translation. “Latvian Literature” representative Juta Pīrāga reveals that the idea for this project was born trying to effectively use the time and financial means during the pandemic. The platform’s work suffered a lot due to the emergency measures put in place in many countries, cancelling the biggest book fairs and literary festivals which Latvian authors were scheduled to attend and delaying the visits of foreign publishers and journalists to Latvia. “Since travel restrictions between the Baltic states are neither in place nor advised, we decided that this is the best time to finally organize a workshop for students from our neighbouring countries. While studying the Latvian language, there is often not enough time in the curriculum devoted to literary translation. These workshops will give the students a chance to experience translating literary texts and improve their skills,” states Juta Pīrāga. The “Latvian Literature” platform aims not only to promote Latvian literature abroad but also to provide a favorable environment for translators able and willing to translate works of Latvian literature into their native languages.

This is the second time “Latvian Literature” is organizing workshops for students from abroad. Last year, Riga was hosting workshops for Polish students. When preparing for the London Book Fair, the “Latvian Literature” platform hosted several prose and poetry translation workshops for translators from Great Britain, USA, and Canada. This year, the prose translation workshop will be held at the Rainis and Aspazija House on Baznīcas iela 30. During the workshop, the students will be observing all the state Covid-19 related restrictions and safety measures.