Thursday, 13 August 2015

Next We Take New York

I'm back! Did you miss me? I've been doing some much-needed r e l a x i n g – including the always delightful BCLT Summer School – and am pretty much back up to speed now. Note that I have recovered my natural cheer, despite it being hot as hell here right now.

And something quite exciting is coming up next month, for me at least. I'm going to the USA! My first time as an adult! I went to Philadelphia when I was seven but I don't remember it all that well apart from visiting my first ever shopping mall, where someone had kindly gobbed on the escalator handrail, thus putting me off malls for life. Worse things have happened.

Apart from just standing around with my mouth open in amazement, I shall be doing two official things in New York. Or am I supposed to call it New York City? The first is open to the public (you lucky, lucky public) and is a panel discussion at the Goethe Institut, Net Lit Unlimited. You can blame me for that title.

And the second thing is by invitation only, but if you tell them I sent you they might let you join in anyway. You probably have to have either a modicum of translation experience or a burning passion for literary translation, and you definitely have to speak German. It's a chance to bask in my infinite translatorly wisdom, an opportunity rarely available outside of Europe.

TransLab –

Workshop for up-and-coming literary translators from German to English led by Katy Derbyshire.

Date: Tuesday, September 22, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm (subject to change)
Place: Goethe-Institut, New York
            30 Irving Place, 4th Floor
            New York, NY 10003

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Warm-up exercise:  What makes a good translation?
1pm – 1:30 pm: Translators will be assigned to small groups. They will translate up to three short passages.
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Group exercise: Editing the translations
This segment will focus on choices involving the narrative voice, and how to write a coherent text.

(Katy Derbyshire is originally from London and has lived in Berlin for many years. She translates contemporary German writers including Inka Parei, Clemens Meyer, Helene Hegemann, and Dorothee Elmiger. Katy blogs at love german books and co-hosts a monthly translation lab and the bimonthly Dead Ladies Show.)

By Invitation only. For more information, please email Riky Stock: stock at

A collaboration between the German Book Office and the Goethe-Institut, New York.

See you there, lovely New Yorkers! And it better not be too hot by then.


EP said...

Have a fantastic time in New York! As if one couldn't. If you have the chance, check out the hot dogs at Crif Dogs in East Village - 113 St Marks Pl.

Will Knapton said...

So I contacted the Goethe-Institut and sent them a translation sample and they extended an invitation to me to your workshop, which is all great and exciting, but I'm wondering about the "speaking German" requirement you mention. I'm a technical translator with a keen interest in literature and I can read and follow along just fine but my speaking is pretty atrocious, probably because I've never lived somewhere that I had to speak it consistently. Anyway, I don't want to be a drag on the group if all the conversations are going to be auf Deutsch but maybe that's what New York is supposed to be about, getting in over one's head and maybe getting eaten up by the bigger fish. All the best

kjd said...

Will, if the Goethe Institut invited you on the strength of your sample, then come. We'll be speaking English and no doubt others will be in a similar position. It's enough for me that you have a keen interest in literature - everyone will be at different levels and learn from each other. There will be no fish eating other fish. See you soon!