Festival of Culture


Impossible Territory - Exploring the World of Translation

06 June 2019, 6:00 pm–9:00 pm

Impossible Territory - Exploring the World of Translation

An evening of multidisciplinary events celebrating the art of translation with a special focus on the so called 'small' languages of Europe.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Festival of Culture Team


Masaryk Senior Common Room
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton Street

Translating the War - Bosnian writing through English and other languages
Twenty-five years after the conflict in former-Yugoslavia, people who lived through those troubled times are still writing and producing art which addresses and tries to make sense of the trauma. We bring together two of the most prolific and best-known Bosnian writers. who have written about the horrors of war and the flight for refuge. Faruk Šehić is a veteran whose poetry and prose has achieved cult status in his native country and across the region. Alen Meskovic, himself a refugee, lives in Denmark and writes about his homeland and his war experience through the Danish language. Join us on the unique occasion of having these two authors in London at the same time.

Translation Challenge - Hungarian Prose and Verse in English Version 
What do we read when we read literature in translation? What is the difference between the original writer’s and the translator’s text? Seemingly everything – after all, they are not in the same language. That’s precisely the point. Yet we believe that the two texts are the same. They have the same name (or title), the same author, and the translator’s name has started appearing on the cover pages of translated works only recently. What is, then, translation: this fata morgana which lures us into believing in the sameness of two texts, one of which is, in fact, the (trans)version of the other? Equivalence in translation has preoccupied scholars and theoreticians for centuries. This Translation Challenge offers exciting practical insights into the translator’s craft and their struggles, in the most practical ways, with sameness and difference between the original text and its English version. While exploring the (im)possibility of translation in general, the focus of this session will be on work by two translators of Hungarian literature, both of whom are affiliated to UCL SSEES. Thanks to their contribution, we shall gain insights into what happens between a Hungarian and an English sentence, and what the intricacies of this process are when translating from less-widely-used languages such as Hungarian.

Publishing Translation
Three of London's leading publishers of translated literature (Istros Books, Francis Boutle Publishers and MacLehose Press) come together to discuss their work: how does a foreign book end up being chosen for publication into English? What is the process of translation and editing that each book must go through? What are the challenges faced by publishers of translated literature and how have they overcome them? There will be possibly for members of the audience to ask questions about pitching titles and gaining an insight into the business. 

This event will be hosted by Professor Eric Gordy, Professor of Political and Cultural Sociology at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).

UCL Festival of Culture
Part of the UCL Festival of Culture, a packed, five-day programme of free talks, panel discussions, screenings, performances, and tours. Join us to discover, discuss and be inspired by the exceptional breadth and quality of the arts, humanities and social sciences at UCL.