Past Event

Translator Panel Discussion: How Do You Translate For The Stage?

October 24, 2020
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
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Daniel Jáquez, Nophand, and Susan Bernofsky

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Daniel Jáquez (Rarámuri Dreams) and Nophand (Taxi Radio).
Moderated by Susan Bernofsky, Writing. 
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Translating for the stage is a special skill, and sometimes plays pass through several hands on their way from their original language (Spanish and Thai) into English. In this brief conversation, translators spoke about the challenges of bringing Rarámuri Dreams and Taxi Radio into English. This panel discussion was sponsored by the MFA Writing Program/Literary Translation at Columbia.

Daniel Jáquez is a director, theater-maker and translator of plays who recently relocated from New York to San Diego. He is originally from Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, México—traditional territory of the Manso, Apache, Jumanos, and Rarámuri people.

Jáquez serves as a member of the Advisory Committee for The Lark's México/U.S. Playwright Exchange Program. He has translated plays by award-winning Mexican playwrights and his translations have been published by NoPassport Press, The Mercurian, and Asymptote. In 2017 and 2019, Jáquez was commissioned by The Old Globe’s Arts Engagement to devise two plays for the City Heights’ community celebration of Día de Muertos.

Jáquez is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, The Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, The Fence, and NoPassport, a Pan-American theatre coalition. He worked as Director and Co-Founder of Unit52 (Intar), Director of INTAR/Jerome Foundation NewWorks Lab, Co-Founder of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, and Interim Artistic Director of Milagro Theatre (Portland, OR). Jáquez earned an MFA in Directing from the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute at Harvard University and a BS in Mathematics from the University of Texas.

Nophand is a Thai citizen who migrated to London at the age of nine. After thirteen years in the city of diversity, he returned to Bangkok to pursue a career in acting. Along the way he discovered a passion for theatre, then writing, then directing, and then he caught full-blown “playwrightism” and became a theatre artist. Thirteen years later, with fifteen productions that mainly reflect upon contemporary issues of the human condition, Nophand continues to explore the art of theatre—introducing Bangkok audiences to site-specific, immersive, and single-audience experiences that echo our collective thought.

Susan Bernofsky’s literary translations include eight works of fiction by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, as well as novels and poetry by Jenny Erpenbeck, Yoko Tawada, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Uljana Wolf, and others. A Guggenheim fellow and former chair of the PEN Translation Committee, she blogs about translation at and co-edited (with Esther Allen) the Columbia University Press anthology In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means. Her translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel The End of Days won the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, The Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize, the Ungar Award for Literary Translation, and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Her translation of Yoko Tawada’s novel Memoirs of a Polar Bear (2016) won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. As a recent fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and current Berlin Prize fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, she has just completed a biography of Robert Walser, Clairvoyant of the Small (forthcoming in May 2021 from Yale University Press) and is at work on a new translation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.

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