Clifford Symposium graphic

You’re translating right now. We all do it every day —usually unconsciously—from written to oral, from images to text.

Even with people we know who share our language and culture, our brains constantly finesse ways to make ourselves understood and to understand. Our increasingly interconnected planet scales up our reliance on translated messages exponentially. Whether it’s negotiating peace at a diplomatic table, reading a novel in a foreign tongue, or learning how to change a spark plug from a car owner’s manual, translators are there, building a bridge.

The 2013 Clifford Symposium invites students, faculty, staff, and the community to explore many forms of translation, and to show how translation and translators contribute to a complex cultural environment. The Symposium will feature faculty members from Middlebury College and the Monterey Institute of International Studies, authors, linguists, and artists. 

2013 Clifford Symposium Event Schedule

Tuesday, September 24

Translation Trivia Game  

Wednesday, September 25

David Edgar in Conversation  

Foreign Language and Translation in Pentecost

David Edgar, the award-winning British playwright of this fall’s theater production of Pentecost, will speak about the use of language in his play. Twelve languages are spoken in Pentecost, a play whose title comes from the Acts of the Apostles, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and come to rest on them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4.

Thursday, September 26

Making Maigret New - Keynote Address  

David Bellos, Professor of French, Italian and Comparative Literature

Director, Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication, Princeton University. Professor Bellos is the author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything (2012).

Simultaneous interpretation into Chinese by Yichen Qian and Ruby Lai. Both are professional interpreters who graduated from the Monterey Institute.

Thursday, September 26

Translation Studies: An (Inter)Discipline Comes of Age  

Translation Studies emerged as an (inter)discipline some 40 years ago, actively embracing various fields of knowledge and creating a multifaceted area of study.

Panelists Rosemary Arrojo, Professor of Comparative Literature, SUNY Binghamton; María Sierra Córdoba Serrano, Assistant Professor, MIIS; Beverley Curran, Professor of Translation Studies, International Christian University, Tokyo;  Minhua Liu*, Associate Professor, MIIS; and Paul Losensky, Associate Professor of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University will talk about their specific areas of research, including literature, gender and postcolonial studies, media, graphic novel, and legal translation, translation sociology, and interpreting studies.

Moderated by Karin Hanta (Middlebury College)

* Minhua will speak in Chinese and be interpreted by Ruby Lai and Yichen Qian. 

Friday, September 27

Simultaneous Interpretation Hands-On  

Today conference interpreters are not “born”: they are “made” – and training for a profession as a conference interpreter is one of the programs the Monterey Institute Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation and Language Education offers. How does it feel to sit in a booth and interpret from one language to another simultaneously?

Come and join Professors Barry Olsen and Jacolyn Harmer in the hot seat and try it out for yourself! 

Friday, September 27

Translation as a Career: Experiences in the Field  

Professional translators, editors, publishers of translations, and interpreters discuss how they have transformed their passion into a career.

The panel will include Susan Harris, editorial director of Words without Borders; Stephen Jensen, Japanese-English technical translator in sustainability; Julie Johnson, professor of interpreting at MIIS; and Chad Post, publisher of Open Letter Book, University of Rochester. Moderated by Barry Slaughter Olsen, Assistant Professor, Translation and Conference Interpretation (MIIS).

Friday, September 27

Keynote Address  

Lexilalia: On Translating a Dictionary of Untranslatable Terms

Emily Apter, Professor of French & Comparative Literature, New York University.

Emily Apter is the author of Feminizing the Fetish: Psychoanalysis and Narrative Obsession in Turn-of-the-Century France (1993), The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (2006), and Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability (2013).

Friday, September 27

The “Mystery” of Translation: Global Cultural Flows  

Translations bridge time and space, connecting peoples and cultures and altering them in unexpected ways. This panel considers the role of translation in mediating cultural exchange across diverse fissures and boundaries.

Panelists include Nehad Heliel, literary translator and director of the Middlebury School in Alexandria, Egypt; Carrie Reed, translator of classical Chinese literature and professor of Chinese at Middlebury; and Yumiko Yanagisawa, Swedish-Japanese and English-Japanese translator and feminist activist. This panel will be moderated by Stephen Snyder, Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies, Middlebury College.

Friday, September 27

T&I 2.0: The Next Generation of Translation and Interpreting  

Faculty from the Monterey Institute discuss new technologies in interpreting and localization management.

Barry Olsen, Max Troyer and Julie Johnson, moderated by Jacolyn Harmer

Friday, September 27

Feminist Translation: A Political Act  

As feminist translation scholar Suzanne Lotbinière-Harwood noted, translation is an inevitably political practice without which texts would not “live” in other cultures and times. Objectivity and neutrality in translation are fallacies since the translators, as social agents, are involved in a process of constant negotiation with the social system in which they produce texts.

Join us for a dinner conversation with translation studies scholars and activists Rosemary Arrojo, Emily Apter, and Yumiko Yanagisawa to discuss feminist perspectives on translation.

Friday, September 27

(Re)Writers: Translating Poetry and Fiction  

Literary translators occupy an anomalous position as “creative imitators.” Publishers and reading practices often mask their existence, preferring an illusion of direct contact between foreign writer and domestic reader. Yet the mediation of translation and the work of translators are crucial in shaping individual works and literary canons.

This panel brings together working literary translators to discuss their experiences and attitudes toward their practice, including Middlebury faculty Ahmad Almallha, Timothy Billings, Michael Katz, Stephen Snyder and Paul Losensky (Indiana University). Moderated by Nina Wieda, Assistant Professor of Russian, Middlebury College.

Saturday, September 28

Consecutive Interpretation Workshop with Jacolyn Harmer and Karin Hanta  

Workshop on consecutive interpretation.

Saturday, September 28

Translingual Beats and Rhymes  

Middlebury students, including the winners of the Translingual contest, perform poetry-in-translation. Special Saturday sushi will be served!

Saturday, September 28

Caesar Must Die  

Set inside the high-security wing of Rome’s Rebbia prison, this film follows a group of inmates’ production of Julius Caesar. Directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (The Night of the Shooting Stars, Kaos) use prisoners as their actors, mixing narrative and documentary together. Ultimately, the film explores the effect of art on life and vice versa. “The Tavianis come not to use or mangle Shakespeare but to honor him”—Anthony Lane, New York Times.

In Italian with English subtitles. Sponsored by the Hirschfield International Film Series. (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Italy, 2012, 76 minutes) Free

2013 Planning Committee:

  • Timothy Billings, Professor of English and American Literature
  • Huda Fakkreddine, Assistant Professor of Arabic
  • Karin Hanta, Director of Chellis House
  • Michael Katz, C.V. Star Professor Emeritus of Russian and East European Studies
  • Jacolyn Harmer, Professor at Monterey Institute of International Studies
  • Stefano Mula, Associate Professor of Italian
  • Stephen Snyder, Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies
  • Assistant Professor of Translation, Localization Management at Monterey Institute of International Studies 
  • Nina Wieda, Assistant Professor of Russian

Sponsored by: Italian Department; Japanese Department; Chinese Department; Russian Department; Arabic Department; German Department; French Department; Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies; Linguistics program; Comparative Literature program; Atwater Commons; Brainerd Commons; Wonnacott Commons; Cook Commons; Ross Commons; and the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies.