Translating Post-Yugoslav Literature

Friday, September 15, 2017
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join the Njegoš Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture and the Harriman Institute for a round table on translating post-Yugoslav literature with Ellen Elias-Bursac (independent scholar and literary translator), Sibelan Forrester (Susan W. Lippincott Professor of Modern and Classical Languages and Russian at Swarthmore College) and Jennifer H. Zoble (Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU).

This round table will focus on translation practices by Elias-Bursac, Forrester, and Zoble, all of whom actively translate literature published in Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian. In the first part of the panel, the participants will read selected excerpts from the post-Yugoslav literary works they translated or are currently working on. The second part of the panel will generate a conversation about a range of topics related to the translation process and practices. The panelists will also reflect on how their translation practices relate to the recent Common Language Declaration and whether this relation enhances the translators’ socio-cultural roles. Issued and signed by a number of linguists and experts from diverse fields, the Common Language Declaration proclaims that Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian are not four different languages, but four different language standards of the same polycentric language. 

Ellen Elias-Bursac has translated novels and short stories by Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian writers, such as David Albahari, Ivana Bodrožić, Daša Drndić, Antun Šoljan, Igor Štiks, Dubravka Ugrešić, Karim Zaimović. ALTA's National Translation Award was given to her translation of Albahari's novel Götz and Meyer in 2006. She is currently working on three short novels by David Albahari (Brother, Checkpoint, Ludwig) and is collaborating with Sarajevo translator Mirza Purić on an English translation of Miljenko Jergović's Inshallah Madonna, Inshallah for Archipelago Press.

Sibelan Forrester has translated prose, poetry, and scholarly articles from Croatian, Russian and Serbian, including works by Milica Micić Dimovska, Dubravka Oraić and Irena Vrkljan. Her translation of Oraić's AMERICAN SCREAM (Urlik Amerike) won the 2006 Heldt Prize for Best Translation in Slavic/East European/Eurasian Women's Studies. She is currently working on a translation of Mira Buljan's novel ZMIJA U RAJU and of poetry by Marija Knežević.

Jennifer Zoble translates Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian- and Spanish-language literature. Her translations have appeared in Washington SquareAbsintheThe Iowa ReviewThe BafflerStonecutter, and elsewhere. She teaches academic and creative writing in the interdisciplinary Liberal Studies program at NYU, co-edits InTranslation at The Brooklyn Rail, and co-produces the international audio drama podcast Play for Voices. She's currently translating two short story collections by Bosnian authors: Mars by Asja Bakić, which will be published by The Feminist Press, and Zovite me Esteban ("Call Me Esteban") by Lejla Kalamujić.


Event image: Anti-smoking warning “Smoking kills” on a packet of cigarettes in Bosnia, written completely the same in all languages, with the only difference is that the Serbian warning is written in the Cyrillic script. Photo: Facebook/Sava Mandic