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A Conference at The Taylor Institution and Exeter College, Oxford


Thinkers ranging from Voltaire to Nabokov have dismissed the translation of poetry as an impossibility. Pirandello famously made similar protestations regarding drama. Jokes are routinely shrugged off as untranslatable. Yet translators, in theory and in practice, regularly contravene these claims, and the XIV Forum for Iberian Studies will likewise take these up as a gauntlet flung down. The Forum will explore ways in which translators overcome, acknowledge, or compensate for the presumed ‘impossibilities’ they encounter in the context of Iberian languages and literatures. At the university where La Celestina, Guzmán de Alfarache, La Regenta, and the Novelas ejemplares were first translated into English, we will discuss old and new challenges in concrete, practical terms.

The Forum will be attended by over 150 scholars and practitioners from 18 countries, who represent various areas of expertise in the fields of translation studies, literature and linguistics.

Keynote Speakers

Suzanne Jill Levine (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA) and Edwin Williamson (Exeter College, University of Oxford, UK), ‘Translating Borges: Suzanne Jill Levine in conversation with Edwin Williamson’.

Isabel-Clara Lorda Vidal (Instituto Cervantes, London, UK), ‘La traducción o el amor’.

Micaela Muñoz-Calvo (Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain) ‘La aldea gala de Astérix: la aventura de la traducción del humor en la Península Ibérica’.

Jonathan Thacker (Merton College, University of Oxford, UK), ‘Translating a Spanish classic for the modern stage: Calderón’s La vida es sueño in English’.

John Rutherford (The Queen’s College, University of Oxford, UK), ‘On the Impossibility of Translation: the Galician Cantigas’.

Patrick Zabalbeascoa (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain), ‘La traducción del humor plurilingüe: Allo Allo no es Hola Hola ni Manuel habla catalán (He’s from Barcelona)’.

Richard Zenith (Lisboa, Portugal), ‘Translating Poetry: Rhyme and Reason’.

The conference is co-organized by Javier Muñoz-Basols, Catarina Fouto, Laura Soler González and Tyler Fisher, and is sponsored by the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, Oxford, the Instituto Camões, the Institut Ramon Llull, the Xunta de Galicia and the Instituto Cervantes.

Conference Programme

Booklet with Abstracts from the Conference