R167. Translation as a Political Act

Room 208AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Thursday, February 9, 2017
10:30 am to 11:45 am


Translators often consider how their work influences the cultural landscape into which they translate, but equally important is how the translator creates political ripple effects, welcome or not, in the author’s home country. Panelists translating from Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish discuss their experiences navigating cultural politics, censorship, and nationalism, as they explore the political consequences and ethical burdens of serving as a medium between cultures.



Jennifer Kronovet is the author of The Wug Test, which was selected for the National Poetry Series, and of Awayward. She cotranslated The Acrobat, poems by Yiddish writer Celia Dropkin. Under the name Jennifer Stern, she cotranslated Empty Chairs, poems by Chinese writer Liu Xia.

Aditi Machado is a poet, translator, and editor. Her translation of Farid Tali’s experimental novella Prosopopoeia is forthcoming. The poetry editor of Asymptote, a journal of translation, she is also the author of the chapbook Route: Marienbad and the forthcoming book Some Beheadings.

Pierre Joris is a poet, translator, essayist, and anthologist who has published more than fifty books, most recently, Barzakh: Poems 2000–2012 and Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan.

James Shea is the author of two poetry collections, The Lost Novel and Star in the Eye. His translations of Japanese poetry have appeared in CircumferenceGin’yu, and the Iowa Review. A former Fulbright Scholar in Hong Kong, he is currently an assistant professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.


March 23–26, 2022
Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Convention Center