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Translation! Festival 2017 events programme

Translation! Festival 2017 events

2017 events

2017 events

2017 events

2017 events

The events listed below took place during the 2017 Translation! Festival.

Please see our current events page for details of the events programme for the 2022 Translation! Festival. 

Translation! Festival 2017: Friday 29 September

Join us for a celebration of languages and cultures from across the world.

Come along to a range of thought-provoking, exciting and interactive events at venues around Exeter city centre, celebrating the uniqueness and diversity of
languages and cultures. Discover the many innovative and creative ways of translating between them… the written word and beyond!

A range of talks, workshops and sessions offer a choice to suit all ages and interests, run by local and international experts. View the full programme of events below.

Exeter Library

The Spectacular Translation Machine

All day

Alpha, a powerful graphic novel in French by Bessora and Barroux, tells the story of a West African migrant who leaves Ivory Coast to find his family in France. Thus unfolds a tragic, unforgettable tale about the hopes and perils of migration. Discover this story for yourself by joining our Spectacular Translation Machine, whether you’re a seasoned Francophone speaker or your knowledge extends as far as the dialogue of 'Allo 'Allo.

We have online and hard-copy dictionaries to hand, but best of all we have real human beings with real expertise to help you in live-time. Translation always involves at least four hands: those of the author and those of the translator. But we’re hoping for countless people to roll up their sleeves and join us in the engine room of our machine. How can we bring the words spectacularly alive in English and for a new audience?

This activity is suitable for everybody 14+.

The first Spectacular Translation Machine was run by Sarah Ardizzone and Daniel Hahn, commissioned by the British Centre for Literary Translation in partnership with the Southbank Centre. Since then, Alpha: The Spectacle opened the Migrant Stories Strand at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016 with the support of the French Institute, and was part of Lancaster Litfest in March 2017.

Alpha is published by Gallimard Jeunesse in France, where it was awarded the Prix Médecins Sans Frontières 2015.

Alpha is published by Barrington Stoke in the UK, where it is supported by English PEN and Amnesty International, and has been nominated for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards 2017.

Watch the Spectacular Translation Machine in action

Poète Public

All day

Using just one word as inspiration, Hervé Eléouet can then tap out a whole poem—in French--on his faithful typewriter, Adélaïde. Drop in to visit our visiting French poet at Exeter Library and create something special.

Wordkeys: The 4D Translation Game

10:00, 11:00, 12:00 and 14:30

Wordkeys: The 4D Translation Game is an active game that explores the ways translation and foreign languages connect people and cultures from around the world, run by literary translator Rosalind Harvey.

Players are divided into two teams and given instructions, plus some mystery items: sealed envelopes, locked boxes, phrasebooks... Both teams are then separated and must not speak to or approach each other! Following instructions, you will use your phrasebooks to translate the clues you have been given, ultimately discovering what’s inside your mystery box and reaching a surprising outcome. No knowledge of foreign languages required, just a sense of fun and adventure!

Discover Translation: The Pleasures of Middle Eastern Translation


Come and hear about the intricacies of Middle Eastern translation with Alana Levinson LaBrosse, specialist in Kurdish translation, and Farangis Ghaderi, translator of modern Kurdish poetry. A lively session that will transport you a world away!

Discover Translation: Translating Russian – A Political Problem?


Listen to experienced translators and academics from the University of Exeter discuss their current projects (among them, a set of aphorisms and notes composed in Soviet Russia) and reflect on the political complexities surrounding the translation of Russian. Audience questions welcome.

Reading and Q&A with Alexei Makushinsky and Rowan Mackenzie-Kennedy


Author Alexei Makushinsky discusses his work, alongside the translator of his 2014 novel Steamship to Argentina and former University of Exeter student, Rowan Mackenzie-Kennedy.

International Story Time


Come and enjoy story time with your little one. This week, it will be a special international edition. Let's see where the story takes us!

Discover Translation: Keeping Dead Languages Alive


Join experts in the ancient and medieval worlds to explore how the linguistic past lives on in the present day thanks to translation. An incredibly rich, fast and fun session, full of surprises and revelations.

Discover Translation: The Wonderful World of Czech Translation


Come and listen to Dr Clare Horáčková (University of Exeter) and Julia Sutton-Mattocks (PhD candidate, Universities of Bristol and Exeter) in conversation about the joys and intricacies of translating from Czech. The session will include readings from and discussion about Julia’s recent award-winning extract translation from Bianca Bellová’s 2016 novel 'The Lake' (Jezero). Audience questions very welcome!

French Poetry Translation Duel


Experienced literary translators Martin Sorrell and Lesley Lawn discuss their versions of translated French poetry. Sit back and reflect on their translation choices, or jump in and suggest some ideas of your own. Open to audience participation!

Translation Jazz: French Poetry in (Musical) Translation


Breton poet Anne Jullien is joined by her translator into English, Michelle Bolduc, and her musical interpreter, jazz musician Fred B. B., for a session that intertwines poetry in English and in French with jazz improvisation.

Translate with the Professionals


Come and try your hand at translating with the professionals! This fun, interactive session is your chance to meet some industry experts and discover what happens during the translation process. Just how do they get around those tricky translation problems? Bring along a pinch of creativity and see what you can do. Led by professional translators from the Institute of Translation and Interpreting South West Network.

International Bounce and Rhyme


Baby Bounce and Rhyme, a traditional library favourite for young families, will this week be taking on an international, multilingual twist! With songs, rhymes and accompanying actions, the session is both lively and stimulating for babies, toddlers, parents, carers and grandparents alike.

Spanish Literary Translation Duel


Rosalind Harvey, literary translator and organiser of the Wordkeys: The 4D Translation Game, mediates this translation duel between Simon Bruni and Rosie Marteau, both experienced literary translators. Both will have translated the same extract before the session, but will hear their opponent’s version for the very first time on stage at the festival. Let the duel commence!

The Jabberwocky in British Sign Language


Come and discover how translation works between English and British Sign Language! As the preferred language of over 145,000 people in the UK, BSL has its own syntax, grammar, and even regional colloquialisms! This talk will discover the wonderful ways in which BSL translation works, with a showing of the popular poem 'Jabberwocky' in BSL, and a live poetry interpretation

Pop-up readings

Every hour

On the hour, every hour, in Exeter Library and Exeter Phoenix. Come and listen to members of the Exeter community sharing their favourite literature, poetry and children’s stories in a range of languages from around the world. A wonderful display of the diversity of languages and cultures that bind together our local community.

Game stations

All day

Bring your friends and family along to use the power of play to experiment with different languages. Board Exeter have supplied us with some fantastic games, and you'll have word lists and phrasebooks at hand to help you play around with languages in a fun, interactive (and competitive, if you want!) way. Have a go on our game stations in Exeter Library and Exeter Phoenix at any time during the day.

Exeter Phoenix

Discover Translation: Translation & Ethics


Join specialists in translation to learn about the ethical implications of translation both across the globe and right here in Exeter. Audience questions welcome! Participants include Hephzibah Israel, a leading expert on translations of the Bible in South Asia who will look at the problematic notion of cultural transfer in relation to social and religious identity; Chantal Wright, award winning translator of children's literature, who will consider the ethical demands of translating for children, and Mark Mellor, founder of Cadenza Translations, who interrogates translation in relation to fidelity.

Discover Translation: Translation, Migration, and Polylingualism


Our communities are populated by speakers, often migrants, of different languages and from various cultural backgrounds. How can translation play a crucial role in migration contexts? Is translation a secondary or primary activity when one lives and works in a multicultural environment?

Does English, as a lingua franca, really erases differences? In what ways can one show the positive and fruitful impact of our polylingual environment on our lives, and in particular on our artistic production and consumption? Living in multicultural and multilingual communities helps us appreciate our richness and refine our ability to move between languages and cultures. Join us in this session and reflect on these matters with Eliana Maestri, from the University of Exeter, and Italian Australian artist Angela Cavalieri.

Q&A with Angela Cavalieri


Come and have a chat with Italian Australian artist Angela Cavalieri about her art, print-making techniques and passion for visual art. Angela studied in Australia with visual artists of international calibre. She lives in Melbourne, is of Italian descent and regularly travels the world. Her life and experiences affect her art and the way she presents the world and reality through images and words. A fantastic opportunity to discover more about her artistic mission and passion.

Angela Cavalieri Art Exhibition


We have the pleasure of inviting you to enjoy Angela Cavalieri's art work at the Exeter Phoenix. Angela has travelled all the way from Australia to Exeter to participate in the Translation! Festival and show her work to the Exeter community. Be inspired by her creativity and sensitivity which emerge from her work and passion for visual art. Her work is thought provoking, colourful, imaginative and exhilarating - it demonstrates originality and devotion. Reflect on the many ways one can represent the interplay between migration, cultures and languages through visual art. Do not miss this fantastic opportunity!

Discover Translation: Translation & Immigration


With photo journalism and personal stories, specialists in the field of immigration and translation discuss the Italian experience of immigration and translation to Exeter and the local region. With Loredana Polezzi, a leading specialist on questions of migration and translation from Cardiff University; Danielle Hipkins, Exeter University expert on Italian cinema and the Italian experience in Exeter; and Valentina Todino, whose research focuses on Italian immigration to Exeter.

Working with the artist: IB students and Angela Cavalieri


Come along to this informal session where local International Baccalaureate students from Exeter College will present the work they have created in a workshop run by Italian Australian artist, Angela Cavalieri. A wonderful opportunity to view the students' work alongside Angela's own creations and to celebrate this special, international collaboration.

Film showing: Tradurre


Translating: where words travel from one language to another, with the translator carrying the suitcase and guiding us. Language therefore becomes a musical instrument, and the translator a baker who brings bread to the table. This film explores how language is sound, meeting translators who discuss their work and their labour of love.

The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing: Translating the ‘free woman’. Reading and Q&A with Darina Al Joundi (author) and Helen Vassallo (translator)


Darina Al Joundi has been acting since the age of 8, and is a celebrated actress throughout the Arab world. Her work spans theatre, television, radio and films. She has lived in Paris since 2005, and her critically acclaimed one-woman play, The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing, was an instant sensation following its debut at the Avignon theatre festival in 2007. She will read extracts from The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing and from its new translation, followed by a Q&A session with the translator, Helen Vassallo.

Translating Rhythm and Rhyme with Timothy Adès


Join award-winning translator-poet Timothy Adès as he shares his experiences and expertise of translating rhythm and rhyme.

Timothy Adès, born 1941, is a rhyming translator-poet, translating into English, mostly from French, also from Spanish, German, and rarely Greek. He studied classical languages and international business. He has translated books by Victor Hugo, Robert Desnos (2) and Jean Cassou (2) and has won awards for his translation of these French poets; he has also translated Alberto Arvelo (Venezuela), and his translation of Alfonso Reyes (Mexico) is also award-winning. Other favourites are Brecht, Sikelianós, and Ricarda Huch. He runs a bookstall of translated poetry. His book ‘Loving by Will’ throws light by lipogram on our national Bard’s amorous affairs. His active website is , with many of his translations: more are at , the great website of poetry in English translation.

Film showing: The Woman with Five Elephants


This is the story of Svetlana Geier. In order to survive, she learns German at home in Kiev. She is good at languages, and gets work as a translator before ending up in a German camp in 1943. Now, 65 years later, she is a renowned translator who in her twilight years has translated the great works of Dostoevsky. For the first time in all these years, she returns to Kiev together with her granddaughter. This multi-award–wining documentary portrays not only the life of a dedicated academic but also the story of many Europeans who endured the terrible conflicts of the twentieth century.


14:00, Phoenix Cafe

LOSt COYOTES are a Devon-based 4-piece band who play an exciting mix of Cajun, Americana, Latin-American and Celtic songs & tunes, finding a natural chemistry between these musical genres in a melodious blend of their instruments and voices. From up-beat Cajun rhythms and Celtic jigs and reels, to more soulful songs and airs, and with themes of land, migration & borders running though much of their repertoire, LOSt COYOTES take their audience on a journey across the Americas and back to their Celtic roots.

Translation Jazz

17:00, Phoenix Cafe

Join jazz musician Fred B.B., poet Anne Jullien and translator Michelle Bolduc for an exciting display of poetry, translation and intertwined jazz improvisation. 

Pop-up readings

Every hour

On the hour, every hour, in Exeter Library and Exeter Phoenix. Come and listen to members of the Exeter community sharing their favourite literature, poetry and children’s stories in a range of languages from around the world. A wonderful display of the diversity of languages and cultures that bind together our local community.

Game stations

All day

Bring your friends and family along to use the power of play to experiment with different languages. Board Exeter have supplied us with some fantastic games, and you'll have word lists and phrasebooks at hand to help you play around with languages in a fun, interactive (and competitive, if you want!) way. Have a go on our game stations in Exeter Library and Exeter Phoenix at any time during the day.


Tours (open to all)

11:00, 12:00, 14:30

Join us for a series of short tours around the RAMM. These will focus on particular objects and artefacts on display in the RAMM that embody the merging of cultures, the transmission of ideas and the hybridity of identity and human communication. The tours will be interactive and enlightening and they will help you reflect on the interplay between translation and objects: What is so special about specific objects? How do they embody and display the layering of time and cultures? Can we identify the key marks they acquire when they cross linguistic and cultural boundaries? A wonderful opportunity to think about cross-cultural translation in a completely new way.

Talk with Tony Eccles (exclusively for Exeter College students)

Tony Eccles, the Curator of Ethnography at RAMM, will give a talk to Exeter College students, giving them expert guidance on the objects on show and fascinating insights into the cultures and customs they embody and represent. There may even be a visit behind-the-scenes to view artefacts not on show to the public!

Workshop (exclusively for Exeter College students)

In these workshops run by Eliana Maestri, translation specialist at the University of Exeter, students will have the opportunity to get more hands-on with the museum's collection. They will be able to handle objects, getting the chance to see, touch, smell some fascinating masks, textiles, beadwork, and more! Through all this, students will engage with exciting ideas of identity, hybridity and transmission … what kind of cultural concepts do these objects embody? Can we trace back their journey through time, countries, continents and cultures? How many places have they visited? Can we guess whether these objects display signs of translation in terms of cultural encounter? And, finally, do these objects keep public and/or private memories alive? Students will be able to reflect on all this in a playful, creative and interactive way through performances and role-plays.

Blog-writing session (exclusively for Exeter College students)

To round up the day, students will spend some time at RAMM writing blog posts that will be published on the RAMM's World Cultures blog or the University of Exeter's Humanities blog. A great way to finish off the day – focusing on one object whose history and journey was particularly intriguing, reflecting on something new they learnt about the transmission of cultures and how this affects their view of translation, or on their overall experience of Translation! Festival.

Translation! Festival 2017 video

Dr Eliana Maestri, lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Exeter, explains what the festival is all about.