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Say What? Annual Clifford Symposium Tackles Translation

September 12, 2013

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Translation and its integral role in our lives will be the focus of Middlebury’s annual Clifford Symposium Sept. 26-28. “Translation in a Global Community” will bring together experts from Middlebury College, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and the larger national and international communities to shed light on the contributions of translators and translation in an increasingly complex world.

“We all do it every day — usually unconsciously — from written to oral, from images to text,” said Stephen Snyder, Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies at Middlebury and one of the event’s organizers. “This collaboration with Monterey lets us share deep expertise from both of our faculties with students and the community.”

David Bellos
Emily Apter
David Edgar

The symposium features a wide array of events, including theatre, lectures, poetry, workshops and a look at new technologies in translation and interpretation.

David Bellos, director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University, will give a keynote address on Thursday, Sept. 26, titled “Making Maigret New.” Bellos, who is also professor of French, Italian and comparative literature at Princeton, is the author of “Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything.”

On Friday, Sept. 27, Emily Apter, professor of French and comparative literature at New York University, will give a keynote address titled, “Lexilalia: On Translating a Dictionary of Untranslatable Terms.” Apter is the author of several books, including “Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability.”

British playwright David Edgar, who wrote the theatre department’s fall production, “Pentecost,” will speak on Wednesday about the use of language in his play. Twelve languages are spoken in the play, which opens at Wright Memorial Theatre in November.

A schedule of symposium events is available on the college’s website. All events are free and open to the public. Most events will take place at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, located off South Main St./Rt. 30. Please see the schedule for specific times and locations. For more information, contact Paige Keren at or 802.443.5937.

The Clifford Symposium
The annual Clifford Symposium is named after College Professor of History Emeritus Nicholas R. Clifford, who taught history at the college from 1966 to 1993 and who in his many years as a member of the faculty and administration cultivated critical inquiry.