Ukrainian Translations in the Last Twenty Years: The situation is changing slowly but surely

One of the central professional events of the 20th Lviv International Book Fair was the event dedicated to translations from and into Ukrainian, organized within Book Platform project.

The public discussion Two Way Street: Ukrainian translations in the last 20 years took place on September 13, 2013, in the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe. The discussion was based on the outcomes of the studies on translations from and into Ukrainian language, executed within the Book Platform project. The results of the studies are available for free in English and Ukrainian, both in printed and electronic format. The electronic versions are available on the Book Platform website. The discussion was attended by 60 translators, researchers, publishers, writers, cultural managers and other stakeholders, who gathered to analyze the outcomes of the studies and to discuss the ways of promotion of translated literature in Ukraine and abroad.

Speakers in the first part of the discussion Volodymyr Yermolenko, Kostiantyn Rodyk, Nelia Vakhovska, Dmytro Drozdovskyi, Jarosław Godun, Ewa Wojciechowska and Yana Genova talked on literature translations from foreign languages into Ukrainian. During the discussion the questions of the criterion of choosing the literature for translation, funding and support from the government and the status of Russian translations in Ukraine were brought up. Another crucial issue was also raised up – about the place of the translator as, according to Kostiantyn Rodyk, a weak link of the process of creation of translated book. Yevgen Bystrytskyi, chief executive of International Renaissance Foundation pointed out that "translators can be compared with eyeglasses: you see well in it, but you forget you are wearing them". Nelia Vakhovska touched upon the problem of publishing culture and mentioned that the warrant of high quality translation is an equal partnership between the publisher and translator.

Summing up, translation studies from foreign languages into Ukrainian testify both unquestioning achievements and sticking points of translator's work.

"Each study is an adventure, the most interesting part of which is how translated books affect national thesaurus and its mentality" – says Kostiantyn Rodyk.

Nelia Vakhovska, Iryna Dmytryshyn, AllaTatarenko, Oleksiy Kononenko, Olaf Kühl and Yana Genova took part in the second part of the discussion in which the subject was about translations of Ukrainian literature and humanities studies abroad. The talk was about efficient methods of promotion of literature abroad, about the absence of government funding of translations projects, about inefficient work of Ukrainian cultural centers abroad, about the place of Ukraine on the geopolitical map of the world. The outcomes of the studies are evidence of the raise of being known in Europe and, comparing with some other post-USSR and Central Europe countries, the raise of better willingness to translate Ukrainian books.

The discussions were organized in partnership with Goethe Institute/ Schriftzüge, Union of Translators and Writers, Open Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation and Charitable Fund "Calvaria Publishing House Foundation".


Full coverage of the event with more pictures and full-length videos in English and in Ukrainian is available here


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