The first ever Translation Festival was held at the 13th International Book Fair in Thessaloniki, Greece, highlight¬ing the role of translators as mediators building bridges between different cul¬tures. Organisers and participants alike agreed that “miracles do happen”: The Thessaloniki International Book Fair (12 – 15 May 2016) with admittedly im¬pressive numbers:
• 10,000 m2 • 400 exhibitors • 250 events • Over 20 participating countries
• More than 250 Greek and foreign writers • More than 500 speakers
• More than 54,000 visitors
• Over 45 events on trans¬lators and foreign writers … only took one month to prepare!!
This year’s country of honour was Russia. The Fair also included a theme exhibition called “Refugees, Then and Now”, the Third Young Writers Festival, a Children’s Corner hosting interactive events for the young, and the Foreign Writers and Translation Festival.
The first Translation Festival in the histo¬ry of the Fair was made possible by the expertise of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. But what actually made this idea come to life was the joint effort of Greek associations of translators and interpret¬ers, namely PEEMPIP, PAT and SYDISE, together with Greek universities offering translation studies at graduate and post¬graduate level: the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting of the Ionian University in Corfu, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, under the auspices of the Hellenic Society of Translation Studies.
All the above bodies and agen¬cies succeeded in presenting a total of 22 seminal events on literary translation, subtitling, theatre translation, and much more. PEEMPIP proudly spon¬sored eight of those events. The idea was to give its members the opportunity to share tales of experience and best prac¬tices and invite distinguished translators and eminent univer¬sity professors from Greece and abroad to present their work. Translation students from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki also had an opportunity to conduct interviews with more than 30 translators, exploring their journey through the world of translation.
Here is a quick summary of the events we had the honour of hosting in our efforts to promote translation and translators:
Athena Psilia and Panagiota Mavridou presented their collaborative method of translating Gonzalo M. Tavares’ “O Bairro”, from Portuguese into Greek. Maria Tsoutsoura, poet and PhD in Comparative Literature together with Stéphane Sawas, from Inalco, the Paris school of oriental studies, presented the bilingual (Greek and French) edition of Maria Tsoutsoura’s collection of poems “Το μεγάλο ταξίδι / Le grand voyage”, published by Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. Litsa Hadgopoulos, who has a doctorate in Modern Greek Literature, introduced us to the one-of-a-kind anthology of Greek short stories “Le conseil de la cloche et autres nou¬velles grecques” (Paris École Normale Supérieure publishing house), compiled and magnificently translated into French by award-winning translator Stéphane Sawas. Violetta Tsitsiliani (PEEMPIP), cu¬rator of “The Translation Project”, and Kleopatra Elaiotriviari (PEEMPIP) had the pleasure of discussing issues of literary translation and cultural management with a charismatic guest from the Fair: Daniel Hahn (UK), writer, editor, transla¬tor and captivating speaker. Marianna Tsatsou (PEEMPIP), along with her two editors and the DTP expert, presented the complete process (from translation and editing all the way to printing) involved in creating the Greek version of the book Albert Einstein / Mileva Marić: The Love Letters. Subtitlers Lena Gogou (PEEMPIP), Penny Karagiannidi (PEEMPIP) and Nancy Papaioannou explained the intricacies of turning literary text into subtitles for a TV series. Last but definitely not least, come our workshops: Dimitra Stafilia (PEEMPIP) and Ntina Tyrovola (PEEMPIP) ran an absorbing workshop on transcreation; while Natasa Kipraki (PEEMPIP), togeth¬er with Kleopatra Elaiotriviari, hosted a workshop on collabo¬rative Spanish-into-Greek literary translation.
The verdict is out: Our first Translation Festival was an unqualified success! It inspired interesting talks and coopera¬tion between language specialists in all fields, giving translation students the chance to test their skills, as well as to meet and talk with future colleagues. We hope that the Translation Festival will become an integral part of the Fair in the future. We imagine it as a vast forum, a translation platform where more and more translators will get to talk about their work every year in Thessaloniki, raising awareness of our profession within the global community and forg¬ing a stronger network between trans¬lation professionals that will sustain and nurture them.
Kleopatra Elaiotriviari, Former PEEMPIP
Reprinted with gracious permission from Translatio, the newsletter of FIT