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Open it up! Translation is earth shattering….

08/07/2014 11:33 AM | Anonymous
(by Margie Franzen)

Openness is something that's come upon the translation profession rather recently. More translators now have their names on the front covers of books than they did in years past. Blogs such as Three Percent (, from the University of Rochester, and Ampersand (, from the publishers of & Other Stories, review translations. Online journals such as Asymptote and Words Without Borders, through interviews and bios, give readers an idea of what translating a text involves. And, more and more, publishers such as the University of Nebraska, Open Book, or Pushkin Press carve a niche supply-and-demand for English-language translations. All of this is known in the translation world. But what about the wide-world at large? What about the world of readers and non-readers?


The t&t open mic. translators. and. translations. is a get-together of local folks taking to the mic, sharing translations that have made them laugh, cry, learn from or ponder over. Anyone can read; anyone can come by to have a drink and listen. Translations can be published works that someone has read or they can be unpublished self-translations. So, the mic really is open! Genealogy letter from faraway relatives? Fascinating. Poem from a dreamer somewhere overseas? Delightful. Funny bilingual dictionary? Good for a laugh! Anything else translated? There's a ton!


All readings are in English. No knowledge of the original language is necessary; we are, or can eventually allow ourselves to be, “unfettered readers” - as colleague, friend, and professor of translation studies at the University of San Antonio Melissa Wallace wrote to me recently in an email. The open mic hopes to unfetter readers from the lament of “I wish I knew more languages...” There is a growing body of world writing available in English. Thanks to translation, we can explore, we can travel beyond our linguistic and physical boundaries.


Each open mic will be held at the Lakeside Coffee House in Madison in its chic, newly remodeled bar space. Anyone who reads gets a free drink and we hope they come in thirsty droves. A raised glass to anyone and everyone who steps up to the mic to share whatever translation they choose!


The first open mic is set for Thursday evening, August 21, 2014. People sign up to read at 7 pm; reading starts at 7:30 and goes until about 9:00. There is a park right by the coffee shop – perfect for families with children who'd like to let the kids run around a bit before coming in and enjoying an artful end to the day. Or, for after-work socializing, there's nothing better for next-day office chatter than what you heard at the open mic the night before. The open mic is a perfect date-night or a sure-fire way to kickstart friendly banter about books. It’s great for the professed non-reader as well. What’s better than just enjoying a drink with books fed to you in tasty bits?


&wordplay is the organizer of the open mic. Write with questions or for more information to:

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We hope to see you at an open mic soon!








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Midwest Association of Translators & Interpreters
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American Translators Association
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