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Disability and/in translation: The right to self-describe

In cooperation with the Goethe-Institutes in North-Western Europe, poco.lit. hosted an online discussion about disability and/in translation. Khairani Barokka and Amy Zayed shared valuable insights. This is an overview of the discussion spanning particular terms in relation to disability, pragmatic suggestions for translators and the connection between disability justice and anti-colonialism.

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A visit to the Humboldt Forum – reflections on the how of the exhibition practices

The Humboldt Forum in Berlin has been a controversial point of discussion for what seems like forever. The debate about this addition to the urban and cultural landscape of Berlin has revolved around a number of issues, including the history of the site, the cost of the project, and not least the objects to be exhibited there. It is this last point that is of particular interest to us at poco.lit., since the Forum is set to be the new home for Berlin’s ‘non-European’ collections.

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Of whale sharks and homemakers – for gender-sensitive translation

Anyone who wants to do a quick translation is probably happy to fall back on technological aids once in a while: Google Translate, Linguee or DeepL are widely known by now. But machine translation can prevent linguistic progress or the successful establishment of non-discriminatory language. Translation programmes draw from already existing texts – and these are far from being free of discrimination. That’s why we’re excited that our macht.sprache. project will be able to develop an integration with existing translation websites to support gender-sensitive translation with the help of the Prototype Fund.

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Where Jhumpa Lahiri finds herself linguistically

Jhumpa Lahiri wrote her latest novel in Italian. Afterwards she translated it into English herself. The deliberate shift in her own language focus invites me to question several things: the linguistic pressure to conform that migrants of Colour often experience. And the common idea that people can only express themselves well in one language – their mother tongue.

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What’s in a foreword? On translator’s notes

Translators make decisions that have an enormous impact on how texts arrive in linguistic contexts beyond the language they were written in. Especially in literary translation, many of these decisions are related to questions of aesthetics and style. But these are also, as our macht.sprache. project is making increasingly clear, decisions with political undertow and ramifications. The translator’s note is often a moment that allows translators to communicate to their readers the considerations that went into their decision-making.

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Whose is the world in world literature? On world literature and postcolonial studies

So many texts on the subject of world literature at some point indicate Goethe’s coining of Weltliteratur in 1827 as its origin story. This is to start the conversation within a European framing. But one could choose another point of departure. For instance: In 1907, Rabindranath Tagore, an enormously respected figure of Bengali literature, was asked to give a lecture on comparative literature. He chose instead to speak on vishwa sahitya.

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