“Arabic after all is a controversial language,” a New York publisher told celebrated Palestinian theorist Edward Said when dismissing his recommendation to translate Egyptian author and future Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz into English. Despite the parochialism of his comment, the publisher was very much on point. Continue Reading

Even Americans, notorious for speaking only one language, have heard of lingualism: monolingualism, bilingualism, trilingualism, beyond which prefixes we usually quit enumerating and accord the enviable polyglot an all-purpose multilingual status. Continue Reading

Graphic novels are literature too, with the same capacity to influence culture, politics, and ideas as any of the more traditional forms. This was the message that Ana Merino, director of the MFA in Spanish Creative Writing at Iowa, wished to impart during her talk on “Translation as a Space of Cultural Power,” the third in the Iowa Translation Workshop’s spring colloquium series. Graphic novels and their translations, Merino insisted, bear on cultural spaces in a number of ways. Continue Reading

Here at the Iowa Translation Workshop, our 50th anniversary year continues with a spring colloquium series for which Philip Lutgendorf, professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies at the university, gave us the lowdown on his current project, a retranslation of the Sanskrit epic poem the Ramayana (that’s ruh-MY-uh-nuh, not ra-ma-YA-nuh, as I’ve sometimes heard it pronounced). The earliest version of the poem is attributed to the “primordial poet” Valmiki in the 5th to 4th century BCE, but Lutgendorf has been translating a late 16th-century version attributed to the Brahman Tulsidas, who wrote in a Hindi further from Modern Standard... Continue Reading

On this snow day in Iowa, we're proud to announce the publication of our Winter '15 issue, ESTRANGED, and the concurrent opening of Spring '15 submissions. Happy reading and translating! Continue Reading

In our age of nation states, in which languages are mostly confined within national borders, translation can transcend political boundaries by liberating original texts from those who might otherwise suppress them. Such was the theme of last month's 37th annual conference of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA): the intimate connection between politics and translation. Continue Reading

On Sunday, October 5th, the final day of the 2014 Iowa City Book Festival, MFA students from Spanish creative writing and literary translation came together for their first-ever (but hopefully annual) bilingual reading at Prairie Lights. Each of the five Hispanophone writers (José Pablo Barragán, Patricia Gonzalo de Jesús, Beverly Pérez-Rego, Pedro Samper Murillo, and Martín López-Vega) collaborated with his own Anglophone translator (Patricia Nash, Kelsi Vanada, Justin Wymer, Anna Hardin, and me, respectively) to translate a section of his work and on Oct. 5th read his original aloud in turn with his translator and the translation, in a leap-frog... Continue Reading

As translators – and indeed, writers – don’t we all wish we had had the opportunity to move to Turkey as children in the 1960s? This was the great luck of Maureen Freely, an Ida Beam Visiting Professor for Fall 2014 at the University of Iowa, who was transplanted from her native New Jersey when her father accepted a teaching position at an elite high school in Istanbul. Within a few short months, we too might have learned Turkish (and Greek, as it turned out for Freely, who summered in nearby Greece each year, why not), experienced expatriate life in... Continue Reading

It's officially open season over here at Exchanges! Continue Reading

Over here at Exchanges we’ve had a few delays rebooting the site for the fall semester, but we’re back now and ready for a watershed year, complete with new MFA director Aron Aji, a student editorial board of six first- and second-years, the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Translation Workshop, and grand plans to restore this publication to its original biannual status for the first time in half a decade. Continue Reading

Exciting news for the spring semester, translation lovers! Continue Reading

If you weren't present for Teemu Manninen's reading at Prairie Lights last Sunday, boy, did you miss out! The author of five poetry collections in his native Finnish, Teemu commands such scintillating English (read: near-native, despite the claim of his website to mere excellence) that last weekend he read his own translations of his own work, as well as an English original dating from the first month of his current residency with the 2013 International Writing Program. His subjects ranged from a dedication to the Venus de Milo, a response to W. H. Continue Reading

Here at the University of Iowa fall semester is already in full swing, just like the packed schedule of literary events around town. On August 30th the first of many readings featuring fellows from the 2013 International Writing Program showcased work by Russian poet Dmitry Golynko, including the crowd-rousing "Whip it out," which you can witness for yourself here on YouTube. For more readings by our visiting writers during their residency this fall, see the IWP's full calendar of events. Continue Reading

I was working at the Iowa Review when I first read a section from Mary Jo Bang's new translation of Dante's Inferno. Like many who've read the work since, I was bowled over. The translation is not simply a modern adaption of an old classic a la O, the basketball-themed filmic version of Othello, or an Anime retelling of Faust. No. Bang's Inferno still reads very much like the tour of hell I remember from high school. And yet the story feels much closer, so much more alive and fresh. John Wayne Gacy is there. So are Southpark and Star Trek. Continue Reading

Welcome to Exchanges's new home. This cozy new (web) space is yet another evolution in our little magazine's history. We began in 1989 as a print magazine, a project of the poet and translator Daniel Weissbort. In the early 2000s, Exchanges shifted to publishing solely on the web, partly to reduce costs but mostly because that was the best way to reach a wider audience. Though our focus has always been on English-language translations, we publish translations alongside the original texts. As such, our intended audience stretches far beyond the U.S.-Canandian borders, where print subscription lists tend to be confined. Continue Reading

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