F284. Negotiating Cultural Bias in Translation

Room 3 & 4, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Edward Said famously claimed that “texts are not finished objects” and that interpretation itself lends meaning. But what is the role of the translator, especially when coming from a culture entirely different from that of the work she’s translating? What kinds of cultural assumptions or prejudices might she bring to bear on the work? Can she, or should she, acknowledge these assumptions? As practicing translators, we ask what’s at stake in the translation of cultural texts, particularly poetry.



Josh Bernstein's forthcoming novel, Rachel’s Tomb, won the AWP Award Series and Hackney Prizes, and his forthcoming story collection, Stick-Light, was a finalist for the Beverly and Robert C. Jones Prizes. He's an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the fiction editor of Tikkun.

Kyoko Yoshida is the author of the story collection Disorientalism. She is featured in BooksActually's Gold Standard 2016. She translates prose and poetry from and into Japanese. A PhD from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a participant in the Iowa IWP, she currently teaches at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto.

Huda J. Fakhreddine is assistant professor of Arabic literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition and the cotranslator of Lighthouse for the Drowning. Her translations of modern Arabic poems have appear or are forthcoming in Banipal and Middle Eastern Literatures.

Jayson Iwen is a poet, novelist, essayist, editor, and translator. His published books of original and translated work are Six Trips in Two Directions, A Momentary Jokebook, Gnarly Wounds, and Lighthouse for the Drowning. He is the editor in chief of the interdisciplinary online journal New Theory.

Piotr Florczyk's most recent books are East & West, a volume of poems, and two translations, My People & Other Poems by Wojciech Bonowicz, and Building the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska, which won the 2017 Found in Translation Award. He is a doctoral candidate at USC.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center