There are many, many things going on to mark International Translation Day this year, or Hieronymustag as the less heathen Germans like to call it.
Start the fun in Berlin this Friday, 19 September with an all-day symposium (you can still register until tomorrow). "The translation of literary works is the most complex form of translation. In three panel discussions," (one of them featuring yours truly) "we want to examine various aspects of the profession: How can I become a literary translator? Do I need formal training, how about further education?
Is it worth translating literature? What's the situation with recognition for literary translators? What could and ought to change? Are there objective and content-related boundaries to literary translation? How do literary translators deal with apparently untranslatable cultural divergences?"
Then take the plane to London for another all-day fun-fest on Friday, 26 September, this time at the British Library - don't worry, this one also features your favourite blogger on adoring Teutonic literature. "Now in its fifth year, the International Translation Day symposium is an
annual event for the translation community. It is an opportunity for
translators, students, publishers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and
reviewers to gather and debate significant issues and developments
within the sector, to discuss challenges and to celebrate success."
The actual St. Jerome's Day is Tuesday, 30 September. And if you're in one of 17 cities around the world and would like to see a real-live translator actually translating out of German, you're in luck. Because on that day there's a whole programme of translators actually leaving the house and interacting with other human beings:
Ard Posthuma translating Ulrike Draesner and Jean Pierre Rawie
Bratislava, 6 p.m., Goethe-Institut library, Panenská 33
Zuzana Demjánová translating Katja Petrowskaja into Slovakian
Nicolás Gelormini translating Katja Petrowskaja into Spanish
Dilman Muradoğlu translating into Turkish
Cairo, 4 p.m., Goethe-Institut library
Dr. Ola Adel Abdel Gawad translating Jonas Lüscher into Arabic
Kiev (28 September!! 2:30 p.m., Goethe-Institut Ukraine, library, Wul. Woloska 12/4, 04655 Kiev
Nelia Vakhovska translating Robert Walser into Ukrainian
Jamie Bulloch translating Nora Bossong into English
Claudia Cabrera translating Arnold Zweig into Spanish
Iryna Herasimovich translating into Belorussian
Namita Khare translating Jenny Erpenbeck into Hindi
Beijing (29 September!!)
Huang Liaoyu translating Martin Walser into Chinese
Rio de Janeiro
Marcelo Backes translating Saša Stanišić into Portuguese
Petê Rissatti translating Thomas Brussig into Portuguese
Aimée Delblanc translating Katja Petrowskaja into Swedish
Daphna Amit translating Jennifer Teege into Hebrew
Anna Kordsaia-Samadaschwili translating into Georgian
Wellington, 4. p.m., National Library of New Zealand
Maike Wetzel translated into English by John Jamieson and then by Ian Cormack into Te Reo Maori
You may not make it to all the events. But make sure you wear a donkey's ear in your buttonhole to remember St. Jerome, who chopped off his donkey's ear to make a bookmark-slash-ink blotter for his bible translation. Hence the German word Eselsohr for when you turn down the corner of a page to keep your place in a book. Jerome knew God would forgive him, and help the donkey to hear with her other ear, because he was doing a very important job that made him immune to purgatorial punishment for cruelty to animals. In days gone by, translators around the world pinned real donkey's ears to their clothing on 30 September but now most of us prefer to use a vegan version.