R129. Translators Are the Unacknowledged Ambassadors of the World

D135, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Thursday, March 28, 2019
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Percy Shelley said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Similarly, translators are the unacknowledged ambassadors of the world. In what sense is a translator an ambassador for a people, language, and culture to another? How does the responsibility of representing the insights of one society to another influence the translator’s choice of projects, and the way s/he works? Translators from Arabic, Persian, Spanish, and French discuss these topics.



Zack Rogow is author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. His eighth book of poems, Talking with the Radio, was published by Kattywompus Press. He teaches in the low-residency MFA at University of Alaska Anchorage. His translations include works by Colette and Breton. zackrogow.com

Niloufar Talebi is a writer, award-winning translator, and multidisciplinary artist. Projects include: Belonging, Vis & I, ICARUS/RISE, Persian Rite of Spring, Fire Angels, Epiphany, Plentiful Peach, and The Investment. Her work is commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, BAM, Stanford, and Kennedy Center.

Suzanne Jill Levine is Director of Translation Studies at the University of California and noted translator of Latin American literature by writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Adolfo Bioy Casares and Manuel Puig. Her books include The Subversive Scribe:Translating Latin American Fiction.

Allen Hibbard is Professor of English and Director of the Middle East Center at Middle Tennessee State University. He has written two books on Paul Bowles, edited a collection of interviews with William S. Burroughs, and published dozens of essays, translations (from Arabic), stories, and reviews.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center