Manchester In Translation 2021 online conference

Part of our Online events guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Arunava Sinha
Translator Arunava Sinha.

Manchester in Translation, online, 16–18 February 2021, free entry - Visit now

The annual Manchester In Translation conference – part of the global International Mother Language Day celebrations – heads online for three days in 2021, with a series of free masterclasses and talks for budding translators and those with a passion for languages.

Hosted by Manchester’s Comma Press, the aim of the conference is to provide advice and insight into the world of translation, offering delegates a chance to develop practical skills.

Running 16 to 18 February, this year’s activities include panels featuring industry experts including Man Booker International Prize shortlisted Sophie Hughes, workshops with the likes of Anjum Malik, senior lecturer in creative writing at Manchester Writing School, and a keynote speech from Arunava Sinha, an award-winning and prolific translator and associate professor of creative writing at top Indian university Ashoka.

Hosted by Manchester’s Comma Press, the aim of the conference is to provide advice and insight into the world of translation, offering delegates a chance to develop practical skills for literary translation, learn about the life of the translator and discover ways of getting their translation work published. Livestreaming from Comma’s YouTube channel from 11am until midday, the keynote is on Tuesday 16 February, with the first panel on Wednesday 17 February and the second on Thursday 18 February. The keynote and panel events are open to all and will be available to watch again if you miss them live.

The keynote speaker Arunava Sinha will use his hour to reflect on his career as a translator and the joys and perils of linguistic multiplicity. Based in New Delhi, he translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction and nonfiction into English, and from English into Bengali, with over sixty of his translations published so far, and awards including an English PEN award, two Crossword translation awards, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Muse India translation award. This talk will be an opportunity to find out more about what makes a good translation and the tools you’ll need to break into the industry.

The first panel, “How the publisher will work with you” invites industry professionals Sherif Dhaimish (editorial and production manager at Medina Publishing), Sophie Hughes (literary critic and translator from Spanish to English, shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019 for her translation of Alia Trabucco Zerán’s The Remainder) and Nichola Smalley (translator of Swedish and Norwegian literature and publicist at And Other Stories) to discuss what can be expected from the relationship between a translator and their publisher.

The second discussion, “Surviving and thriving as a literary translator” will look at collaboration and networking for emerging translators, top tips and how to stay afloat in a competitive industry. The panellists are Indonesian writer, editor and artist Khairani Barokka, Ruth Clarke, a translator from Italian, French and Spanish, and a founding member of the London-based translators collective The Starling Bureau, and Sawad Hussain, winner of the 2019 Arablit Short Story Prize and two English PEN Translates awards.

Three workshops focusing on literary translation will run on Zoom from 2-4.30pm each afternoon – Punjabi to English with Kavita Bhanot on Tuesday, Urdu to English with Anjum Malik on Wednesday and Spanish to English with Gitanjali Patel on Thursday. (Please note that attendance for each is capped at 15 places, and priority will be given to residents of Greater Manchester, with applicants asked to answer a few quick questions when booking to determine their suitability for the workshop – see the Comma Press website for all the details.)

Manchester In Translation is part of a series of 15 events being held across the city throughout February to mark International Mother Language Day, celebrated worldwide on 21 February. This will be the fourth consecutive year that Manchester has been part of the event as a UNESCO City of Literature, with the MCoL network of organisations (from the Confucius Institute to the new Manchester Poetry Library) promoting literature in the community languages of Manchester, including a popular multi-language mushaira night of song and poetry and the creation of a special Manchester Audio Cookbook by artist Sumay Wu.

Manchester in Translation, online

16–18 February 2021
Free entry