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Lidia Vianu - Director of CTITC (CENTRE FOR THE TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY TEXT), Bucharest University, Professor of Contemporary British Literature at the English Department of Bucharest University, Member of the Writers’ Union, Romania.


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Review of Contemporary Texts in Translation and E-Learning


                                                                           Nr. 25/February 15, 2008



ISSN 1842 – 9149


These translations are an online seminar of literary translation, part of Lidia Vianu’s course [Guide to Contemporary Literature and Its Translation], and a session of E-Learning in the MA Programme for the Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text, directed by Lidia Vianu.

The texts have also been discussed in translation group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/translationcafe/  


What the MA for the Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text has been doing since the school year started... Whom they have met and how they felt about what they learned from them.



11 ianuarie 2008, MTTLC

Dear Mrs. Ioana Ieronim and Mr. Ernest Latham,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to meet with us. I must say I was both surprised and honoured when professor Vianu announced your visit. I appreciate your willingness to share your memories and thoughts with us, and I think it was very interesting to review some images of communist Romania, a time when people were “forced” to read instead of speaking or thinking. After your visit, I realised once again how proud I am to be an MA student in literature. As for “ortoman”... that reminded me to read “Miorita” again, and think about other reasons to be proud. Thank you again for your generosity, it was one of the best experiences I have had.
Rodica Tita-Ionas

Va multumim foarte mult pentru intalnirea de vineri si pentru minunatele cuvinte prin care ne-ati impartasit experienta dumneavoastra. Am fost incantati sa ascultam sfaturile pe care ni le-ati dat in ceea ce priveste munca noastra ca viitori traducatori, si ne-a facut o placere deosebita sa aflam, luandu-va ca exemplu, ca din cultura se poate face o cariera.
Va multumim foarte mult!
Oana Teodoroiu

Dear Mr. Latham and Mrs. Ieronim,

I didn’t mean it to sound like a letter initially, but this is what came out in the end. The epistolary style may seem old fashioned, but it generates a sense of intimacy and confidence I need right now. The reason why I am writing is to thank you for sharing with us a bit of your experience, and for believing it in our power to make a difference in a world that is becoming, with every day that passes, a big market place.
After our meeting, I kept thinking about the ways in which literature has changed my life, or has made me be more sensitive, more aware of myself and of others. I came to the conclusion that, indeed, life and literature intertwine. Modernist writers saw literature as a way of reacting against the reality that no longer pleased them – the war. I linked that with Mr. Latham’s experience when trying to understand what determined a man who served in the Army to turn to literature with so much eagerness. Perhaps the war and the atrocities it causes make us more insightful beings, this being the natural way to literature, psychology and philosophy.
Last year, I read a book entitled Reading Lolita in Tehran, an autobiographical novel written by Azar Nafisi, who taught English literature at the University of Tehran, and who is now a university professor in the USA. She talks about her experience in Iran, both as a teacher and as a woman, about how she used literature to make her students become aware of what was going on around them, and be critical. They used literature to discover their identity when everything coming from the “real” world strove to depersonalize them, to make them obedient and non-existent. She proved that the way we read literature is culturally dependent, and, in order to protect themselves from crime and injustice, they used literature to fictionalize reality, and at the same time debunk it. To be able to mock terror, you have to distance yourself from it, and literature offered them that safe ground. One of the novels Nafisi analyzed with her students was Nabokov’s Lolita. She made them see in Lolita the abused Muslim women, who are never listened to, who are obliged to wear the veil and hide their true selves. They used The Great Gatsby to put Iran on a fictional trial. Everything in literature spoke to them and offered them solutions.
Not long after I had finished reading the book, I heard some news on the radio announcing that Muslim women were again forbidden to walk unveiled or meet with men other than their husbands, brothers and fathers, in public places. I am sure that if I had not read that novel, the news would not have had the same impact on me, I would not have been so aware of the situation.
Thank you for generating this insight into fiction.
Ioana Tudor

It has become customary for MA students of literary translation to welcome the presence of at least one special guest every Friday. The evening of 11th January was all the more special since each of our three guests had their own personality, point of view, message to transmit and issues on which to insist, to our own benefit. In the person of Mr. Latham I saw a rare model of self-contained loftiness, a living proof that vast culture and life experience can shape human nature and give it such contour as to indeed look up to someone and gain insights when listening to his opinions and eloquent stories. It was a marvel to witness the presence of a man who has a vision of life in which culture and the humanities occupy a central position. I also personally enjoyed the praising of Classical languages as an essential instrument for disciplining both mind and spirit – it is an art for art’s sake exercise whose long-term benefits and positive influence are sadly not understood in a country where a Romance language is spoken.
As for Mrs. Ieronim, her undisturbed optimism was a great tonic for us, who strive to find a proper path in this often harsh field of literary translations. It was comforting to hear that if you are able to surpass certain difficulties and obstacles – which vary according to case – you can, eventually, gain satisfaction from and recognition in this profession.
Andreea Hadambu

For me, the meeting with Mr. Ernest Latham and Mrs. Ioana Ieronim was a very useful and interesting one, and I will try to explain why I feel that. They have demonstrated and have strengthened, once again, my belief in the usefulness of the faculty I have graduated from, and the usefulness of the presence of the humanities in anyone’s life. I saw once again how culture can help us do whatever we want, become whatever we want and be good at it. Both of our guests are people of letters, diplomats, very well trained at what they do and, maybe most importantly, they are people who can succeed in any area and can deal with activities of any kind. Mr. Latham told us that he was a military attaché, a diplomat, a man of Letters; he studied archaeology (if I well remember), foreign languages, political science and many other things, which proves to me the usefulness of culture and education. Mrs. Ieronim is another such example, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to listen to them and to learn something from them. They are a living example that the study of humanities is not a limited field of activity, but a gateway to life, to future experience and to future success.
I would like to thank Mr. Latham and Mrs. Ieronim for their presence, for having dedicated part of their time to us and for having shared with us parts of their experience, and I would also like to thank Prof. Vianu for offering us such opportunities to meet wonderful people.
Ana Maria Purec

Stimata doamna Vianu,

Fiecare dintre invitatii dumneavoastra m-a impresionat si de la fiecare am avut ceva de invatat. Chiar daca nu am pus intrebari, sau nu am scris o nota de multumire, am apreciat prezenta lor la curs si ceea ce ne-au transmis, iar cuvintele mi-au ramas in minte multa vreme dupa ce au fost rostite.
Doamnei Baicoianu i-am fost recunoscatoare pentru franchete, naturalete si pentru cuvantul “ smerenie”.
Domnul Latham mi-a raspuns la o intrebare pe care mi-o pusesem in legatura cu Never Let Me Go, si mi-a intarit convingerea si increderea in valorile culturale universale.
Dna Kessler ne-a transmis extrem de concentrat – si de captivant ca prezentare – elemente de marketing, de drept de proprietate intelectuala si de comercializare, informatii a caror sintetizare cere ani de zile de practica si, nu in ultimul rand, si dorinta sincera de a le impartasi cu altii, fara nimic in schimb, intr-o lume obsedata de castigul material imediat.
Teofana Trapcea

I would like to thank you for sharing your great love of culture with us. I was deeply touched by the respect you showed us, and impressed with the eloquence of your speech and the openness with which you welcomed the most diverse questions.
I too have always felt that books can shape one’s life, and although I have yet to find the one that would change my existence, I feel their influence like an undercurrent constantly redefining my character. When you told us about the British and German officers who, despite being war enemies, found a common ground in Virgil’s writings, I thought to myself that maybe, had they shared a passion for mathematics instead of literature and philosophy, they could have reached the same peaceful understanding discussing prime numbers. But this is but a flimsy counterargument. Cleary, unlike scientific theories, humanities can be readily understood by any literate human being, and they can teach you more about your inner self than a theorem could. The pleasure one derives from them is not only intellectual, but also emotional, and even physical. They craft your soul like thieves in the night, without you even knowing it. Hoping I haven’t come across as presumptuous, I thank you again for taking the time to come to our class. It is always a pleasure to meet a man of letters.
Steliana Palade

Intalnirea cu Ioana Ieronim si Ernest Latham a fost, pentru mine, ca un ceai linistitor intr-o seara alba si rece. Doi oameni de cultura au vorbit, fiecare in felul sau unic – Ioana Ieronim cald, suav, Ernest Latham hotarat dar mereu atent sa se intoarca cateva secunde in sine inainte de a exprima, despre cultura, literatura, poezie, istorie, diplomatie, studentie, viata. Mi-a placut, pe de o parte, caldura si increderea cu care acesti oameni s-au intors catre noi, ‘cei mici’, cei care ne cautam inca drumul, si, pe de alta parte, usoara noastra stangacie admirativa. A fost o intalnire frumoasa si cu siguranta folositoare.
Andreea Diaconu

11 ianuarie 2008, MTTLC

I would like to thank you for taking some time from your busy schedule to meet with us and talk about translation and other important facets of book printing. It was very helpful to me to learn so much about the process of printing and to understand how many people are involved in such an activity.
I also appreciated the information about signing a contract and the way we should deal with this particular issue.
I would also like to thank you for your suggestions and recommendations, and for clarifying some aspects of what translation means.
Thank you very much for the time you spent with us.
Rodica Tita-Ionas

Intalnirea cu dumneavoastra a fost de un real folos pentru cei care sunt interesati de cum se munceste intr-o editura. Eu, personal, v-am ascultat cu mare interes, si vreau sa va multumesc in special pentru foarte folositoarele sfaturi in legatura cu ceea ce presupune activitatea unui traducator. Detaliile in legatura cu contractele, modalitatile de lucru si toate celelalte aspecte ale unei colaborari de traducere ne vor fi cu siguranta utile in viitor.
Va multumesc foarte mult!
Oana Teodoroiu

Ca studenta indragostita de profesia de traducator, va sunt recunoscatoare pentru ca m-ati facut sa ma simt mai putin oropsita. Ne-ati confirmat, desigur, ca rasplata materiala nu poate fi forta motrice a acestei indeletniciri, dar mesajul principal al prezentarii dumneavoastra, pentru mine, este ca traducatorul nu se afla singur pe lume. Ca exista oameni (redactorii) care il ajuta si incurajeaza. Este reconfortanta, de asemenea, ideea ca usa editurii Polirom este inca deschisa pentru cei care doresc sa-si incerce talentul si calitatile de traducator.
Va multumesc inca o data pentru discursul dumneavoastra pozitiv si stimulant.
Steliana Palade

Atunci cand, inca student fiind, faci primii pasi in lumea traducerilor literare, ai nevoie, pe langa o buna intelegere a ceea ce inseamna ‘o traducere buna’, si de toate informatiile, esentiale, legate de aspectele adiacente traducerii propriu-zise: ce contine un contract de traducere si cum se incheie el, ce se intampla dupa ce traducerea a fost predata editurii, cat de mult si in ce fel poti colabora cu redactorul in timpul efectuarii traducerii sau dupa, in ce fel esti platit, la ce trebuie sa te astepti, etc. Intalnirea cu Anca Baicoianu de la Polirom a fost importanta tocmai pentru ca ne-a deslusit unele intrebari legate de lucrurile acestea, dar si pentru ca a dovedit – pentru mine personal – faptul ca se poate stabili un contact relaxat intre o editura, respectiv reprezentatul unei edituri, si un traducator, un contact lipsit de frictiuni suspicioase si bazat strict pe profesionalism si respect.
Andreea Diaconu

18 ianuarie 2008, MTTLC

Doresc sa va multumesc pentru ca ati acceptat invitatia doamnei profesoare Lidia Vianu sa va intalniti cu noi, masteranzii de la traducerea textului literar contemporan. A fost un subiect complet nou pentru mine, abordat interactiv, extrem de atragator, o lectie pe care toti ar trebui sa o stim inainte sa pasim cu adevarat in lumea traducatorilor.
Am descoperit mai mult decat un agent literar. Am descoperit o activitate multidisciplinara si cred ca ati scrie o carte extrem de interesanta despre psihologia readershipului din România.
Sunt convinsa ca nu este numai fler in a propune o carte "buna" (s-au folosit si alte adjective la prelegere: "vandabila", "de succes"). Sunt in mod cert ani de experienta, cunostinte de sociologie (mi s-a parut chiar ca puteti face cu usurinta o analiza sociologica aplicata pe cititorii din tara noastra) si de statistica ce vin sa asigure succesul pe care il aveti.
Cu riscul de a va parea exagerata, vreau sa va spun ca a fost un discurs fascinant pentru mine. Va multumesc si sper sa raspundeti si in viitor invitatiilor noastre.
Gabriela Moldovan

Cu toata sinceritatea tin sa va multumesc pentru prezenta de aseara. Informatiile furnizate de dvs au fost de un real folos pentru mine, mi-au prezentat aspecte de "culise" ale lumii cartilor, pe care nicio carte nu cred ca le poate oferi. Sper din tot sufletul ca voi mai avea ocazia sa va ascult si sa invat de la dvs.
Va multumesc,
Dana Constantinescu (Tg Jiu)

Mi-a placut foarte mult cursul pe care ni l-a tinut d-na Simona Kessler. She is very witty and funny, and her course was soooooo enjoyable. Venind dupa un examen, cursul dansei a fost foarte revigorant, am aflat foarte multe lucruri noi, si intr-o maniera atat de atragatoare incat as vrea sa-i multumesc pe aceasta cale ca a acceptat sa-si rupa din timpul sau cateva ore pentru a participa la cursul nostru si a ne impartasi din bogata sa experienta ca agent literar. Sper sa o faca si pe viitor. Mi-ar placea sa o avem din nou la curs.
Mii de multumiri inca o data.
Ramona Zamfirescu.

A fost o onoare sa-l avem ca invitat pe cel mai important agent literar din tara, am primit informatii deosebit de importante si sfaturi extrem de utile legate de intregul lant „autor – agent literar – editura – traducator” si am remarcat totodata o prezenta carismatica si tonica, ce a reusit, asemeni unui pedagog desavarsit, sa mentina interesul auditoriului.

Angela Craescu

Mi s-a parut foarte interesant ce ne-ati spus despre munca de agent literar si despre relatiile pe care le implica aceasta munca (relatia cu editurile din tara, cu agentii literari din strainatate).
Un alt lucru care mi-a atras atentia a fost modul in care se fac ofertele in acest domeniu si cum trebuie luat in considerare fiecare aspect. Nu m-as fi gandit niciodata cate conditii trebuie sa fie indeplinite pentru a tipari o carte straina in limba romana.
Cred ca munca despre care ne-ati vorbit este una dintre cele mai interesante dar si mai putin cunoscute. Si, de asemenea, foarte importanta pentru tiparirea unei carti.
Va multumesc inca odata pentru faptul v-ati facut timp pentru aceasta intalnire.
Rodica Tita-Ionas

Fara sa doresc sa minimalizez aspectele efective, „cuantificabile”, pe care noi ca studenti le-am derivat, le-am sorbit din discutia cu doamna Kessler, as mentiona in primul rand ceea ce pentru mine face aceasta intalnire memorabila: prezenta plina de forta, siguranta si limpezime a mintii unei femei care, cu tactul si flerul speciei, pare a se misca in permanenta pe muchie de cutit, jongland cu umor si perspicacitate in universul mai putin stiut al lui „ce face posibila aparitia unei carti”, in care rolul dumneaei de agent literar e declansator. A fost tuturor evident, de asemenea, talentul dumneaei pedagogic, felul in care a reusit sa ne captiveze, sa ne surprinda, sa ne rasplateasca oferindu-ne carti, sa ne dea de gandit si chiar sa ne amuze. Mi-a placut, de asemenea, ca poseda mandria retinuta, eleganta si generoasa pe care ti-o dau pionieratul intr-o anumita activitate si satisfactia lucrului bine facut, o experienta din care dumneaei ne-a impartasit cu franchete si obiectivitate.
Andreea Hadambu

Vineri seara am petrecut in compania dumneavoastra doua ore minunate. Am invatat lucruri interesante, asezand inca o piesa in complexul puzzle care este lumea cartilor. Am aflat ce inseamna sa fii agent literar de la singura autoritate romaneasca in domeniu. Dar daca, in loc de drepturile de autor si cele de traducere, ne-ati fi vorbit despre soiurile de ciuperci, as fi fost la fel de captivata de personalitatea dumneavoastra. Va multumesc ca ne-ati oferit ocazia sa va cunoastem. Si un multumesc special pentru ca ati venit la noi cu daruri, lasandu-ne sa pastram cartile pentru care am facut oferte.
Steliana Palade

Draga doamna Vianu,

As vrea sa va multumesc pentru intalnirea de vineri seara cu dna Simona Kessler. Pentru mine a fost o ocazie foarte buna de a afla "de la sursa" ce inseamna a fi agent literar, ce presupune munca in acest domeniu si riscurile la care esti expus.
Primul lucru pe care l-am retinut este ca a lucra ca agent literar inseamna a castiga increderea multor persoane si a sti cum sa o pastrezi, a fi ferm (dar nu autoritar), a fi sincer (dar nu lingusitor); pe scurt, a avea o tinuta morala exemplara. Ma bucur de fiecare data cand aflu ca mai sunt oameni pentru care castigul financiar nu vine inaintea datoriei morale.
Un alt lucru care mi-a ramas in memorie este ca si aici, ca in orice alta meserie, trebuie sa-ti placa ceea ce faci si sa muncesti mult, acestea fiind doua conditii esentiale pentru dobandirea succesului in orice domeniu.
Sunt sigura ca tuturor ne sunt de folos asemenea intalniri si discutii cu persoane de la care avem intr-adevar ce invata. Inca o data, va multumesc pentru aceasta intalnire, si sper sa nu fie ultima de acest gen.
Daniela Oancea

Doamna Simona Kessler, despre care citisem – impresionata – un articol in Dilemateca, m-a impresionat si in persoana: carismatica, cu talent pedagogic, cu stapanirea omului care isi stie bine meseria, cu dedicare profesionista. Cele cateva ore, am ascultat fascinata. Ma bucur mult ca intalnirea cu dumneaei a avut loc, am avut multe de invatat.
Andreea Diaconu




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