The project was initiated in the spring of 2011, when the writers were selected and paired by their respective faculties. In October the Columbia students traveled to Leipzig for a week to meet their partners and participate in an intensive translation workshop. They continued to work together through the remainder of the semester via the Internet, and in January, the completed texts were submitted for publication. The American students returned to Leipzig in March for a week of public readings and presentations of Word for Word / Wort für Wort at the Leipzig Book Fair and the DLL (click here for pictures). The event on April 12th marks the culmination of the translation exchange, and the following day the writers will gather for a final session in which they will review and discuss their translations with Susan Bernofsky, an eminent American translator of German literature.
For Columbia’s School of the Arts, Word for Word is intended to inaugurate a series of similar exchanges in partnership with Columbia’s Global Centers in various locations around the world, in the belief that bridging cultures and languages through the medium of literary translation and the work of talented young writers is important—not only to any writer’s education, but to the future of international literature in a time when too few works of literature are translated and published in America, and ultimately to broadening and deepening the relationship of American culture to world culture.
The School of the Arts and the DLL are deeply grateful to Goethe-Institut New York for supporting the publication of Word for Word / Wort für Wort, to the U.S. Consulate Leipzig for supporting the October workshop in Germany, to Columbia’s Deutsches Haus for hosting the April 12th presentation, and to Matvei Yankelevich of Ugly Duckling Presse for the design of Word for Word / Wort für Wort.
UNIVERSITY OF LEIPZIG TRANSLATION EXCHANGE STUDENTS 2011-12
SCHOOL OF THE ARTS TRANSLATION EXCHANGE STUDENTS 2011-12