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The Same River Twice: On The Practice of Translating

Saskia Vogel, Program in Translation & Intercultural Communication

Fri, 10/28 · 12:30 pm1:30 pm · Zoom

Program in Translation & Intercultural Communication and the Humanities Council

Princeton’s Fall 2022 Translator in Residence arrived on campus with an unusual task: to cut a 760-page book of minimalist verse down to around 500 pages. The translation in question is of Sámi-Swedish author Linnea Axelsson’s Aednan, an award-winning multi-generational novel-in-verse about the fates of two Indigenous families against the backdrop of Swedish settler colonialism in the 20thand 21stcenturies, forthcoming with Knopf.

The task sparked a series of reflections on books as objects, the fallacy of the idea of a “finished” piece of writing, what is lost and gained in translation, and what happens when something as changeable as language is the place you call home. Drawing from her translation diary, conversations with the author and editor, and more, Vogel’s lecture is a reflection on the art and practice of creative writing and translation aimed at anyone who tells or reads stories.

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