Bristol Translates Literary Translation Summer School – All online

Translation can sometimes be a lonely endeavour, especially when you work for months on end on a long and difficult literary text. Input from peers as well as established translators may be needed to get your spirits up again and infuse your work with brilliant, new ideas.

Bristol Translates is an online summer school where language lovers work together exploring literary translation. This year’s event will take place from 3 to 7 July, comprising three days of workshops (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) from nine languages into English or, alternatively, in a multilingual group.

The other two days are filled with panel discussions and workshops on industry trends, job readiness and the opportunities available around different literary genres (fiction and non-fiction). These include sessions on

  • how to pitch to publishers,
  • how to approach literary journals and magazines,
  • how to negotiate contracts,
  • how to translate for the stage,
  • translator activism,
  • queer translation,
  • translation at war.

Bristol Translates offers a very extensive programme, and participants from previous years have lauded it as a launchpad of their careers.

The event is led by Ros Schwartz and Holly Langstaff. Tutors include well-known translators from nine languages into English, and the roll call of guest speakers and panellists is truly impressive.

Information on eligibility as well as the application form are available on the Bristol Translates website.

Applicants who apply before 28 February can also apply for a full bursary.

There is no formal application deadline – it is first come, first served, and workshops will fill up.

For more information see: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sml/translation-studies/bristol-translates/

If you have any questions please email: bristol-translates@bristol.ac.uk

Nabijon Boqiy: “Slaves will Create a Servant Literature”

Dear readers! We would like to introduce you to a wonderful novelist and short story writer from Uzbekistan, Nabijon Boqiy. Born in 1956 in the Baghdad District of Fergana region, he is one of the leading contemporary authors of Uzbekistan.  His novel about the recent hard times of the Uzbek people during the dictatorship is available in English. His two novels have been published in Turkish. Nabijon Boqiy spent months in the KGB archives in search of historic materials for his novels.  His published books include Qatlnoma (A Story of execution, dedicated to the sad fate of the great Uzbek writer Abdulla Qodiriy); Gulzamira; Letters to Chingiz Efendi; and The Will of Anwar Pasha.  Nabijon Boqiy translated works by Robert Louis Stevenson, Chingiz Aitmatov, Mukhtor Shakhanov and Georgiy Pryakhin into Uzbek.  He is the holder of the Shuhrat medal and the winner of the ‘Best Historic Book’ award.   

In the interview below, Uzbek poet A’zam Obid and writer Nabijon Boqiy talk about the current state of creative writing in Uzbekistan, the life of a writer, and what it means to be a writer in this Central Asian country.

A’zam Obid: Hello, brother Nabijon! Thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions!

It seems to me that a good writer or poet is not only a person who writes a beautiful work of art, but also a person who regularly reacts to events in his/her society on various platforms (for example, on social networks).  A writer must be a defender of human rights, an opponent of an unjust system, a humble person as well as a strong person who lives with conflict. In fact, I am not a person who describes or evaluates poets or writers, dividing them into ‘mediocre’, ‘good’ or ‘great’ artists. A writer or a poet, who is unpopular or shallow, sometimes seems to me to be a very strong person. In general, I would like to ask you how important strength is for a creative person. Who is the real Uzbek writer today? Can you describe him or her?

NABIJON BOQIY: I think now in Uzbekistan the one who describes himself as ‘a true Uzbek writer’ is a hypocrite. One type of writers are those who hang around the presidential administration (Devon) until they beautify their own houses and the cemeteries where they could be buried. The other type (such writers are too many) are those who, even if they could not get to Devon, they would take themselves to the managers from Devon and work with them.  The most interesting thing is that both groups think that they serve the nation, always saying “My people!” and “My country!”  However, their ultimate goal is that they reach the level when the government would feed them and they would be closer to the palace. I told an interesting story about them in my novel called The Diary of Yurtmenboshi. In 2010, I signed a contract with Ozodlik Radio (RFRL), and the main part of the novel was published on its website.  My teacher, famous Uzbek writer Erkin A’zam, who was one of the first readers of that novel said: “This novel of Nabijon brightens the face of Uzbek writers, no matter when he publishes it: during his life or after his death. The person who reads this work, fortunately, will say that representatives of Uzbek literature are not only engaged in praise and that they also wrote the bitter truth!” Writers and poets such as Temur Pulatov, Gulchehra Nurullaeva, Miraziz A’zam, Asqar Haydar, Nurulla Oston, Ibrahim Haqqul, Orozboy Abdurahmanov also liked this novel.

Continue reading “Nabijon Boqiy: “Slaves will Create a Servant Literature””

2023 Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program: Applications Open!


The University of Arizona, in collaboration with Eurasian National University (ENU), is now accepting applications for the 2023 Summer Intensive Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies in Astana, Kazakhstan. We particularly welcome undergraduate as well as graduate students whose research focuses on Central Asia and students interested in learning multiple foreign languages. We accept all types of funding. The Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program is fully FLAS compliant.

The program dates are 19 June – 28 July 2023 (6 weeks, equivalent to one academic year of language instruction in the primary language). All students will receive instruction in two languages (primary and second): Russian (all levels) and Kazakh (elementary). Courses taught in English: Students can enroll in one elective course in Eurasian Studies taught in English. 

INFORMATION ZOOM SESSION/ELECTRONIC WALK-INS will be held on December 2 (Friday), 2022 (9:30 AM -10:30 AM, Mountain Standard Time). 

Register in advance for this meeting: 

https://arizona.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUod-CsqT8qHNOFpL0MhVyL6JXJB9zUKig6

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Participants can start the application process and find detailed information about the program, including its cost, course descriptions, details about housing and meal plans, and extra-curricular programming at https://global.arizona.edu/study-abroad/program/arizona-kazakhstan. Please note that the 2023 application deadline is February 25.

For detailed information about the program, please contact Dr. Liudmila Klimanova, Director of the Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program, klimanova@arizona.edu  and Sabrina Sterbis, Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program Coordinator, ssterbis@arizona.edu

Learn Kazakh in Madison, Wisconsin!

 Applications for CESSI 2023 are now open!  CESSI typically offers courses in Kazakh, Tajik, Uyghur, and Uzbek.  Additional Central Eurasian languages (such as Azerbaijani or Kyrgyz) may be added with sufficient student interest.  

Several funding opportunities exist for students of any type. Graduate students (including incoming students), post-baccalaureate researchers, and professionals who are U.S. citizens are especially encouraged to apply for the Title VIII Fellowship*, which covers full tuition plus a stipend of $2,500 for the summer.  Note: this is a great opportunity for your incoming MA and PhD students to develop language skills before embarking on fieldwork.  

About the program:  

CESSI is an intensive, eight-week language program held each summer in Madison, Wisconsin.  This year the program will run from June 19 – August 11, 2023. Students receive the equivalent of one year of language study during this time and earn eight credits upon completion of the program.  In addition to language classes, CESSI students have the opportunity to attend lectures on Central Eurasia; participate in cultural events; engage with local Central Eurasian communities; and network with other scholars of Central Eurasia.  Students of all disciplines and academic programs are welcome!  

The priority application deadline is February 1, 2023. We will be regularly posting information/application deadlines to Facebook (@CessiMadison), Instagram (@uwcessi), and Twitter (@UWCESSI), which you are welcome to share.  For more information, please visit our website at cessi.wisc.edu or contact cessi@creeca.wisc.edu

*TVIII funding is provided by the United States government. Funding is conditional on final approval from U.S. State Department. 

Интервью с Редакторами RusKidLit/WorldKidLit

По случаю Писательской Резиденции 2022, мы взяли особое интервью–у Рут Ахмедзаи Кемп и Екатериной Шаталовой, создателей блога RusKidLit и авторов WorldKidLit, ведущих англоязычных ресурсов о детской и подростковой литературе мира. (ответы Рут в переводе на русский Анны Уолден)

По случаю Писательской Резиденции 2022, мы взяли особое интервью–у Рут Ахмедзаи Кемп  и Екатериной Шаталовой, создателей блога RusKidLit и авторов WorldKidLit, ведущих англоязычных ресурсов о детской и подростковой литературе мира. (ответы Рут в переводе на русский Анны Уолден)

The Alma Review: Что cподвинуло Вас на создание ресурсов RusKidLit?

Рут Ахмедзаи Кемп: World Kid Lit blog и хештеги #WorldKidLit и #WorldKidLitMonth запустили в 2016 г. эксперты-литературоведы Марша Линкс Квейли (Marcia Lynx Qualey, первый редактор ArabLit и переводчик арабской литературы), Лоуренс Шимель (Lawrence Schimel, испаноязычный и англоязычный писатель детских книг, поэт, переводчик, издатель) и Александра Бюхлер (Alexandra Büchler, руководитель программы Literature Across Frontiers и переводчик чешской литературы). Они запустили кампанию World Kid Lit с целью повысить доступность международной литературы в ответ на возрастающий интерес к разносторонней и инклюзивной литературе для детей, то есть к книгам, в которых представлено население Земли во всём его многообразии.

Найти детские книги из других стран бывает непросто, поскольку издатели не всегда освещают тот факт, что книга переводная, с какого языка она переведена, и кто переводчик. Проект World Kid Lit был создан для того, чтобы помочь англоязычным читателям познакомиться с работами зарубежных и иноязычных авторов, иллюстраторов и переводчиков. Для привлечения внимания широкой общественности к динамично развивающейся детской и подростковой литературе был также создан специальный сайт. Помимо прочего, он призван быть хабом между читателями и другими организациями, работающими в сфере детско-юношеской литературы.

Мы с Екатериной и Марией запустили блог Russian Kid Lit с той же целью: облегчить читателям поиск детских книг, изначально написанных на русском, а издателям — шедевров, еще не переведенных на английский. 

Сайт — это социальный проект, которым руководят волонтеры из нескольких стран; сейчас у нас представлены работы писателей и иллюстраторов из Украины, Казахстана и России.

Read more: Интервью с Редакторами RusKidLit/WorldKidLit

Екатерина Шаталова: В настоящий момент мы наблюдаем настоящий «золотой век» русской детской литературы. В стране нет недостатка в новых талантливых авторах и иллюстраторах, которые создают высококачественные книги для детей. До начала войны почти каждый месяц появлялись новые издательства (всего в России функционирует около 500 детских издательств), а в 2021 году в Москве впервые с момента основания прошел 37-й Всемирный конгресс Международного совета по детской и юношеской литературе IBBY. Однако, за рубежом о наших современных авторах знают весьма условно, поскольку лишь малая доля книг переводится на английский и другие языки. Поэтому мы решили, что было бы здорово делиться рецензиями на книги, которые незаслуженно остаются в тени, в надежде, что это также привлечет интерес иностранных издателей.

AR: Можете ли поделиться историями успеха, связанными с этими блогами?

Рут: Одной из целей для обоих блогов была публикация рецензий на книги на других языках, еще не переведенных на английский, с тем, чтобы стимулировать интерес к ним со стороны англоязычных издателей. Для каждого из блогов есть по крайней мере по одной такой истории.

В прошлом году Екатерина написала на Russian Kid Lit blog о книге Анны Анисимовой и Юлии Сидневой «Музыка моего дятла» (The Music of My Woodpecker), и рецензию прочли в Restless Books (независимое издательство в Нью-Йорке). Они купили права на книгу и попросили меня перевести книгу на английский. Это прекрасная иллюстрированная детская книга о приключениях и о бескрайнем воображении маленькой слепой девочки. Перевод будет опубликован в апреле 2023 г. под названием The Invisible Elephant

В блоге World Kid Lit мы опубликовали две рецензии на украинские детские книги (написанные на украинском и русском). Первая была посвящена украинской переводчице Ханне Лелив (Hanna Leliv), работавшей над книгой Cappy and the Whale, “Шапочка і кит”, которую написала Катерина Бабкина. Это история восьмилетнего мальчика по имени Шапочка (Cappy). У него лейкемия. И в один из дней он знакомится с китом, волшебным образом парящим над парком, на который выходят окна его комнаты. Права на книгу приобрел Penguin Random House, и перевод Ханны будет издан уже в этом месяце!

AR:     Какой совет Вы дали бы детским авторам, которые мечтают выйти на международный рынок?

Рут: На английском издается так много книг, а конкуренция за внимание издателей настолько высока, что у издателя крайне мало времени на то, чтобы искать книги, написанные на других языках, в особенности на русском. Редакторы могут прочесть что-то на французском или испанском, но редко находятся такие, кто в состоянии оценить книгу, написанную на других языках. Так что при оценке возможных новых изданий им остается лишь доверяться переводчикам или экспертам-билингвам. Затраты издателей на оценку новых иноязычных книг могут быть очень высокими, ведь им приходится оплачивать работу переводчика или читателя-билингва, которые в состоянии написать качественное краткое изложение книги, а зачастую и перевод ее фрагмента. Чтобы привлечь внимание англоязычного издателя, лучше всего начать работать с международным литературным агентом, который сможет сделать качественный перевод фрагмента книги и профессионально подготовить материалы для презентации вашей книги издателям. К сожалению, агентов, работающих с русскоязычными авторами, не так много. Пока что я знаю только о Syllabes Agency в Лионе, Франция, и Genya aGency в Москве.  Оба агентства имеют успешный опыт международных сделок. Если бы я была писателем и искала способы издаться на других языках за рубежом, я бы прежде всего вышла на такое агентство и поинтересовалась условиями сотрудничества.

Екатерина: Внимательно следить за книжными трендами, отсматривать результаты различных конкурсов (BolognaRagazzi Award, Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Hans Christian Andersen Award и т.д.), искать темы, которые мало представлены.

AR: В чем, по Вашему мнению, главное отличие между литературой для детей и для взрослых?

Рут: Есть много отличий, но для меня — как переводчика — важнее всего то, насколько язык изложения подходит для чтения вслух. Взрослые читатели обычно более терпимо относятся к излишне пространным, косноязычным или двусмысленным предложениям. А вот дети (и родители) — это довольно-таки разборчивые читатели, и косноязычия обычно не терпят! Если текст приятно и легко читается, они будут читать.

Когда у меня готов черновой перевод, я часто читаю его вслух моим детям, чтобы удостовериться в качестве текста. Так я могу сразу заметить: легко ли он читается? Понятно ли, кто и как говорит? Не перегружено ли предложение? Где в этом предложении смысловое ударение, не двусмысленно ли оно? Все эти вопросы я держу в уме, переводя любое предложение из любого текста, но при работе над детскими книгами такие аспекты многократно важнее.

Екатерина: На самом деле, деление литературы на «для детей» и «для взрослых» довольно условно. Многие из нас выросли, читая вполне себе «взрослые» книги, в то время как взрослые спокойно читают детскую литературу. При этом нельзя забывать, что детская литература контролируется миром взрослых: взрослые (за редкими исключениями) пишут, редактируют, переводят, издают, продают, рецензируют, преподают и покупают книги детям. Так насколько эта литература для детей? В этом плане очень радует появление детских школ критики и книжных конкурсов, где судьи – дети. Конечно, с теоретической точки зрения, всегда можно выделить отдельные жанры, темы, особенности языка и сюжета, стремление к дидактике и т.д., но стоит ли?

AR: К теме нашей резиденции в Алматы: Какие шансы на развитие у детской литературы в эпоху постоянных технологических и социальных перемен?

Рут: Я твердо убеждена в важности чтения и доступности качественной детской литературы; это необходимо, чтобы дать детям ощущение стабильности и время для размышлений на фоне растущей нестабильности и неопределенности. Для меня чтение с детьми (с одним или с двумя вместе) хотя бы несколько минут каждый вечер — это ритуал, обеспечивающий постоянство даже в трудные времена. Я знаю много семей, которым ежедневное чтение вслух помогло пройти через хаос пандемии, зачастую при участии бабушек и дедушек через Skype или Zoom. Детская литература также может помочь юным читателям переварить и обдумать сложные и новые ситуации посредством историй, которые универсальны, которые расширяют их жизненный опыт и помогают им взглянуть на вещи с другой точки зрения. 

В последнее время одной из острых проблем для детской литературы — и в издательском деле вообще — стал рост расходов после пандемии и после начала войны в Украине. Книги всегда обходились дорого, но сейчас есть риск, что для многих школ и семей они и вовсе станут роскошью. Очень важны библиотеки, и мне хотелось бы видеть больше инвестиций в недорогие цифровые “читалки” для детей, что помогло бы снизить стоимость использования электронных книг. Для меня лично одним из замечательных достоинств электронных книг является то, что книги на иностранных языках, например, на русском, обходятся намного дешевле, чем купленные за рубежом. Для детей, воспитываемых в двуязычных семьях, крайне важен доступ к книгам на других языках по приемлемой цене, однако, редко у кого есть такая возможность.

Екатерина: Детская литература в привычном нам понимании появилась именно благодаря технологическим и социальным изменениям. Поэтому, несмотря на бесконечный прогресс, детская литература никогда не «вымрет». В силу своей мультимодальности она, конечно же, видоизменяется, принимая новые формы. Сегодня мы как никогда наблюдаем тесное взаимоотношение между книгами, фильмами, играми и другими медиа для детей, новые технологии создают платформу для печатных и электронных книг. Особую популярность набирают приложения с интерактивными книгами. Такой интерактивный «сплав» текста, картинок и аудио выводит детскую литературу и читательский опыт в целом на новый уровень.

AR: Как привить любовь к чтению? Как выбрать наиболее подходящие книги ребенку?

Рут: Я считаю так: если мои дети видят меня за чтением, они тоже им заинтересуются и захотят читать. В моей семье все в целом так и работало, по крайней мере до этого лета, когда у моего старшего сына появился мобильный телефон, и он потерял интерес к чтению! Хотя я не теряю надежды. Надеюсь, если мы продолжим вместе читать и обсуждать книги, у него опять проснется интерес к чтению. 

Выбирать подходящие книги сложно, и я вижу, что многие дети читают классику двадцатого века (а там много такого, что для современного читателя выглядит не только старомодным, но может быть просто ханжеством или расизмом) просто потому, что родители и учителя не знакомы с современной детской литературой. Я бы посоветовала родителям говорить с продавцами в книжных магазинах, обращаться за рекомендациями к библиотекарям и искать информацию в интернете. В Instagram есть много книжных критиков и блоггеров с рекомендациями лучших современных книг для детей. Там вы также можете получить информацию об интересных мероприятиях и книжных чтениях. Я считаю, что возможность послушать автора, читающего собственную книгу (живьем или через интернет) — это тоже один из способов заинтересовать ребенка чтением.

Екатерина: После работы в детской библиотеке и книжном магазине хочется сказать лишь одно: не стоит ограничивать детей в чтении. Очень часто родители одёргивают детей: «Зачем тебе комикс? Да тут текста совсем нет! Это несерьёзно! Это же для маленьких, это для девочек и т.д. А вот я в твоём возрасте читал …» Не стоит мешать детям искать свой путь к чтению.

Anna Kozhanova: How to Advance Your Career as a Literary Translator

You need to follow the writers and poets you like, as well as your experienced colleagues and publishing houses. You need to collaborate and stop being afraid to show who you are and what you can do as a translator.

Translation requires great enthusiasm! You must love reading and deep-dive research, editing and re-editing for hours on end. But despite all this, translation is a great thing when you really enjoy it!  

I am very keen on translating fiction and non-fiction as a part of the special project dubbed the Laboratory of Literary Translation here, in Almaty. We translate modern authors and make their brilliant works available to a wider readership. 

The Laboratory of Literary Translation, supported by the U.S. Mission to Kazakhstan, is a project led by Yuriy Serebryanskiy, a Kazakhstani author, and Andrey Platonov, a translator. The project started in 2018 focusing on engaging enthusiasts willing to translate. 

I was very lucky to see the open call on Facebook. To pass the selection you needed to translate a short excerpt from ‘What’s eating Gilbert Grape’, a novel by Peter Hedges which I did! A few weeks later I got an invitation! I was over the moon and joined the project! 

Laboratory’s goal was to train amateurs, work in a team, and collaborate with authors. All this added up to  a real book named ‘Nine Stories’, a collection of short stories by modern American writers. The book can be downloaded for free at https://litshkola.kz/9storieskz/.

Our group began with translating and editing two Christophers (what a coincidence!): Christopher Merkner and Christopher Merrill. We met with the authors both online and offline and it was such a great experience for me. 

I am still part of the Laboratory of Literary Translation and from time to time we translate the pieces we like.

Today I would like to share some of my ideas on how to advance one’s career as a translator.  

Read more: Anna Kozhanova: How to Advance Your Career as a Literary Translator
  • First of all, you need to meet the right people and experts and look for places and events where such people gather to discuss professional issues. Networking is important and social networks are a great support here too!  I know it for sure as I kicked off this way. 
  • You need to follow the writers and poets you like, as well as your experienced colleagues and publishing houses. You need to collaborate and stop being afraid to show who you are and what you can do as a translator. Stop hiding and let the others spot you!
  • You need to read a lot in foreign and native languages as reading helps to find the right words with exact emotional coloring and meaning. It expands your horizons! Reading both Russian and English books makes me more confident. Writing a diary is also great as you learn how to express your ideas in writing. 
  • You need to practice. Participate in various projects, volunteer, and communicate with colleagues and editors. Learn to be persistent and patient and take comments as an opportunity to grow and not as a personal offense. You need to keep this in mind as only by getting reasonable comments and analyzing them one can grow as a translator. 

I know what I am talking about. I was very defensive and took any criticism very personally. It took me time to understand that no one was perfect. When you think that they are and when you are afraid to make mistakes, it will not advance you at all. 

Translation helped me to improve my communication, cooperation, and decision-making skills. It taught me how to defend a point of view too! So it’s definitely worth trying! 

Anna Kozhanova graduated from the Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She majored in English language and literature. Tried translation for the first time as a student. In 2005 started as a translator and a consecutive interpreter in one of the largest audit companies. Expert in audit, legal, marketing, corporate translations. Translates fiction and non-fiction as a part of the Laboratory of Literary Translation established in 2018 in Almaty. One of the translators and editors of Nine Stories, a collection of short stories by modern American writers. Translated short stories by Christopher Merkner ‘Of pigs and children’ and  ‘Local accident’ published in ‘Лиterraтура’online literary journal.

A Journey into Nostalgia: Ariadna Linn on Stories by Yuriy Serebriasky

Serebrianky, Yuriy. Stories.

This collection by Yuriy Serebriansky includes three short stories different in meaning and very close to each other in mood. These short travels remind you of places you have never been to. The first story, “Girl on the Garage Roof” sends you into a small city in Poland, while the last one, “Junkies,” takes you to a pioneer camp of a still existing USSR. In the one in the middle, “Trams Run on Schedule”, the narrator just walks along the cozy streets of Gdansk holding your hand, making you feel like you’ve been living there forever. 

Read more: A Journey into Nostalgia: Ariadna Linn on Stories by Yuriy Serebriasky

These three stories, however, are not about the things they are named after. They are neither about girls, trams or junkies. And to be honest, it doesn’t even matter what exactly they are about. What matters is the journey into magnificent poetics that Yuriy so generously invites you to. And he made sure this journey will not be on a plastic boat.

All three stories are united by a strong feeling of nostalgia. Nostalgia for your hometown or your first awkward experience in romance. They can almost remind you of your mother’s voice coming from the kitchen or the last school summer you remember. “I was slow-dancing with a girl whose name I don’t remember. Her neck smelled lovely,” the narrator says, and you can hear the songs they played when you were fifteen.

The narrator names a street he turns to, and you feel déjà vu – you are not sure that you have never been to this place anymore.

Maybe it is the careful description of a local bakery, or a vivid picture of the furniture from IKEA that makes you relate to these stories, or maybe it is because the narrator talks about you. Not just anyone, but you. There are moments where he will make you laugh, but only because you are thrown off by how accurate his depiction of you appeared in the story. The first time you were brave enough to break the rules with your classmate and were happy that you weren’t caught. Or the time when you were drinking wine on a summer terrace, alone, sharing thoughts with an imaginary listener. No matter what kind of memory it evokes in you, one thing is always true: Yuriy can make you feel like home in his texts.

Yuriy Serebriansky is a Kazakhstani author of Polish origin who writes prose, poetry and translates. He teaches at OLSA and works as an editor for Kazakhstani Polish diaspora magazine “Ałmatyński Kurier Polonijny” and Russian literary magazine “Literratura”. His works have been translated into many languages and published in a number of different magazines. Yuriy has been awarded the prize “Russkaya Premia” twice and his book Kazakhstani Fairy Tales was named the best bilingual book for young in 2017.  

Ariadna Linn is a young aspiring writer from Kazakhstan. She started her writing journey as a poet, but now she tries herself in different genres such as fiction, creative nonfiction and experimental prose. She currently studies literature and foreign languages at Nazarabayev University. Her work has been published in the literary magazine “Angime”.

Gender Inequality, Still with us Decades Later: Gulsaya Mazhenova on Zhusipbek Aimauytov’s Akbilek

Zhusipbek Aimauytov, Akbilek, Almaty, Atamura Publishing House, 2003. 

280 pages. ISBN 9965-05-874-1

Akbilek, a novel by Zhusipbek Aimautov, is a work that has an indelible place in the history of Kazakh literature. This novel describes daily life events and social issues, and challenges in individual destinies. An aspect of the imperial policy by the neighboring country, which has become a present-day issue, is also described herein.

The writer depicts the content of the story in an interesting way and describes the main characters looking deep into their personalities. Reading the novel, you will feel as if you have traveled to that period of Kazakh history. A beautiful combination of reality and artistic creativity gives true pleasure to a reader.

Akbilek is the name of the main character of the novel. She is a beautiful Kazakh girl with pure heart that is full of kindness. Unfortunately, by fate, she falls among the militants and becomes an entertainment object of invading officers. However, Akbilek, never giving in to violence, longs for freedom and does not lose her passion for life. She ends up getting married to Baltash, another main character, and finds true happiness.

Baltash is a guy who deeply understands and respects Akbilek. This is the quality that Akbilek most appreciates in Baltash. Despite her cruel fate, he falls in love with her. As for the negative characters, it is, of course, an officer, a cruel and disgusting person who abuses and tramples Akbilek’s honor. This character is also remembered as a true representative of a country that has followed an imperial policy for centuries. You wouldn’t wish Akbilek’s fate, the violence she went through and the pain she suffered, on your worst enemy. Who knew that the fate of Akbilek, who was deeply loved and pampered from childhood, who has neither ever faced difficulties nor humiliation, would turn out like this…?

Although the story depicted in the novel took place in the 1920’s, it is, of course, sad that gender inequality is a problem that has not been resolved even now, a whole century later…

Zhusipbek Aimauytov (1889-1931) was an outstanding Kazakh writer, playwright, publicist, translator and researcher. He was born and raised in the former Kyzyl Tu village of Bayanaul district in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan, which is now the village named after himself, the Zhusipbek Aymauytov village. During the Soviet persecution that began in 1929, he was arrested on suspicion of having ties to a nationalist organization in Kazakhstan, and after a long investigation, he was sentenced to death in absentia in 1931, and shot the same year. Zhusipbek Aimauytov, who lived in the time of social revolutions, managed to leave behind a rich, valuable literary and scientific legacy in his short life.

Gulsaya Mazhenova is a Kazakhstani trilingual translator, she has worked as a translator in the large international companies operating in Kazakhstan, mostly in communications and public relations. Gulsaya also works with the world’s top entertainment companies and translates from English to Kazakh and vice versa. Gulsaya’s works include translation of subtitles for movies and programs of the largest entertainment companies, translation of children’s books and fairy tales, etc. 

  

Yuliya Gubanova: Four Challenges I See as a Translator of Literature from Kazakhstan

Recently I became a finalist of the Qalamdas Literary Award as a literary translator. After I  published a fb post about this intermediate success, one lady asked me to translate her book and she sent me the manuscript. When I started reading, I understood, it was starving for an editor. There were general mistakes of a beginner writer: stereotyped phrases, general descriptions without explanation, etc.  All these things have to be definitely improved before translation.

So the first challenge I see as a translator of literature from whatever country is to find a proper author who provides editing/proofreading of his/her manuscript.

The second challenge is to receive a legally authorized permit of an author for translation. This is quite a complicated issue so I prefer my client to deal with it.

The third challenge is to solve questions related to the text with an author upon completion of a translation. Once my co-translator and I finalized a text, proofread it, and reached out to the author to to discuss some topics  to be sure that everything was done correctly but unfortunately the author never answered us. The text is still with us and we are still hoping for a good outcome.

The fourth challenge is to confirm the authority as a translator. In spite of my translation experience, I have never graduated from a language university. So I could never submit a respective diploma to confirm my knowledge. However, I consider myself to be a good translator.

There are some challenges specific for Kazakhstan:

·        The Kazakhstani book publishing market is at its early stage of development. It does not provide proper promotion to authors. So they self-publish their books or address Russian publishing houses. They also look for translators abroad.

·       There are not many professional translators in Kazakhstan. It happened due to the low level of expertise of graduated translators. 

So in reply to the video, all challenges can be classified as world-wide and specific for a country. However, it is possible to overcome all of them if you find the right people at the right time in the right place.

#Yuliya_Gubanova #Literature_Translation_Challenges

Bio: Yuliya GubanovaYuliya Gubanova was born in Moscow in 1977. She graduated from Kazakhstan Academy of Architecture and Construction as an engineer but became a translator. She has 23 years of technical, legal, journalistic translations. Finalist of the III Central Asian Book Forum and the Literary Festival Award, and the Qalamdas Literary Award.

What challenges I see as a translator of literature from Kazakhstan

Recently I became a finalist of the Qalamdas Literary Award as a literary translator. After I  published a fb post about this intermediate success, one lady asked me to translate her book and she sent me the manuscript. When I started reading, I understood, it was starving for an editor. There were general mistakes of a beginner writer: stereotyped phrases, general descriptions without explanation, etc.  All these things have to be definitely improved before translation.

So the first challenge I see as a translator of literature from whatever country is to find a proper author who provides editing/proofreading of his/her manuscript.

The second challenge is to receive a legally authorized permit of an author for translation. This is quite a complicated issue so I prefer my client to deal with it.

The third challenge is to solve questions related to the text with an author upon completion of a translation. Once my co-translator and I finalized a text, proofread it, and reached out to the author to to discuss some topics  to be sure that everything was done correctly but unfortunately the author never answered us. The text is still with us and we are still hoping for a good outcome.

The fourth challenge is to confirm the authority as a translator. In spite of my translation experience, I have never graduated from a language university. So I could never submit a respective diploma to confirm my knowledge. However, I consider myself to be a good translator.

There are some challenges specific for Kazakhstan:

·        The Kazakhstani book publishing market is at its early stage of development. It does not provide proper promotion to authors. So they self-publish their books or address Russian publishing houses. They also look for translators abroad.

·       There are not many professional translators in Kazakhstan. It happened due to the low level of expertise of graduated translators. 

So in reply to the video, all challenges can be classified as world-wide and specific for a country. However, it is possible to overcome all of them if you find the right people at the right time in the right place.

Yuliya Gubanova was born in Moscow in 1977. She graduated from Kazakhstan Academy of Architecture and Construction as an engineer but became a translator. She has 23 years of technical, legal, journalistic translations. Finalist of the III Central Asian Book Forum and the Literary Festival Award, and the Qalamdas Literary Award.

Soul Music: Bakytgul Salykhova Reviews “Neighbor” by Retbek Magaz

I have been  looking for a good story to review for a while, but  all stories seem inappropriate. I asked a friend to suggest  some good pieces and received about ten links. I randomly clicked one. It was a short story by Retbek Magaz “Neighbor”. I started reading and liked it from the very beginning, even though  the storyline is not deep and does not have complicated relationships or interweaving destinies. The story relays the true feelings of a person who creates an image of an enemy in her mind despite the fact that the other person has not done anything bad and is not even aware of such hatred.

Retbek Magaz

The main characters are Aidar (young man, student, actor), a woman and a man (married couple). The author did not give them any names and simply uses words like a woman (әйел) and a man (еркек). The story immediately brings us up to date: It’s been a year since Aidar moved into his own apartment on the top of a six-story building which he bought with his parents’ help. He lives alone, his neighbors on both sides have not yet settled down. Therefore, his only neighbors are a married couple who live on the fifth floor.

Even before Aidar, a thin curly-headed young man, moved into his apartment, a woman hated him for no reason. She did not like that a single young man, a student, and also an actor would live on the top floor of the building. When she found out that he bought an apartment without any help from the state (a mortgage or a loan), she detested him even more. 

One day that woman had a wonderful dream. Before falling asleep she overheard a song of her youth. The music was coming from the top floor. In her dream she was young again, a first-year student at a university, she was running along the embankment, and a young man with flowers was running after her. And a sound of a well-known song followed them:

“Feelings are like beautiful white rain

Which recently ended in Almaty…”

The song brought back in her memory her days of youth and love, and she woke up in a good mood. But then she noticed that the neighbor upstairs flooded her. She made a scene and her hatred doubled. 

Another of her dreams was about her grandfather and his yellow “Zhiguli” car that he used to drive when she was little. She woke up feeling exhausted and unwell, but walked to the kitchen to check if it was flooded again, as if she wanted to see once again that they’d been flooded. But there were no signs of a catastrophe.

After this dream she saw Aidar, who was returning from a store. The woman stuck her head out of the car and yelled,  “Hey actor, I hope you will not flood us again before we return.” 

She is an ordinary lonely housewife (although she has a husband) who spends all day doing housework and talking on the phone. She considers a young neighbor from upstairs an enemy and uses any chance to quarrel with him as proof of him being bad. And life gives her what she wants. She gets a flood and a ruined ceiling, but also a ruined mood. But her life also changed with this young man. The sound of dombra, and songs from her youth, excited her soul and brought nice memories.

This story reminds us of the power of music: a soul sticks to its roots and never forgets a melody of childhood.

This short story warmed my soul and rekindled my trust that everything happens for good as long as you remember music that excites your soul.

Retbek Magaz is a poet and writer. He was born in 1989 in the Altai region of China. Now he lives in Almaty. He graduated from Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University. He is a teacher at the ” Higher education preparation” department of Al Farabi Kazakh National University. His poems and stories have been published in many republican newspapers and magazines and online: kitap.kz, adebiportal.kz etc.

Bakytgul Salykhova – PhD, educator, translator (English – Kazakh/Russian). At the beginning worked as a Kazakh language teacher, also in different local and international educational organizations. She has experience working on a children’s TV channel “Balapan”, preparing educational programs for children, creating scripts and editing cartoons, films and science programs for children. Published Kazakh language Textbooks for 1-4 Grade. She produced podcasts “1001 kitap”, “Ata-ana sagaty” (video and audio version). She is one of the TED Kazakh Translators.