The World Before Your Eyes

Participants in the Merck Social Translating Project with partner Merck in Seoul.
Participants in the Merck Social Translating Project with partner Merck in Seoul. | Photo: Goethe-Institut Korea/OZAK

From 10 to 14 October 2018, the Goethe-Institut will be offering a variety of insights into its literary activities at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In addition to events about the Guest of Honour, Georgia, symposiums will look at present-day challenges in society and culture. The Merck Social Translating Project presents a new form of collaborative translation in the digital space.

The writer and translator Arno Schmidt once claimed, “There is no bliss without books.” The Frankfurt Book Fair, however, is not an island of bliss, but the industry meeting of the publishing world par excellence, an opportunity for discussion, for critical dialogue across national borders. The Goethe-Institut is represented this year with a variety of events on innovative translation programmes and formats, on the Guest of Honour Georgia as well as the latest social debates.

Digital translating

The Merck Social Translating Project is exploring new territory in the field of digital translation. The Goethe-Instituts from the regions of East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia have been experimenting with a new method since the beginning of this year, supported by the science and technology company Merck: Ten translators are working on a digital platform in close collaboration with the German author Thomas Melle to translate his novel The World at Your Back into Bengali, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Mongolian and Vietnamese. At the same time, they are conducting a discourse about their work on the translation. In a panel on 11 October, Melle and three of the participating translators will present their first experiences with the project.

Civil society under pressure

Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the president of the Goethe-Institut, will talk with Marion Ackermann, the director-general of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the journalist and historian Simon Strauss, about Art between Power and Morality. They will discuss issues such as sexism in painting, anti-Semitism in literature and colonialism in museums.
In the discussion on The Politics of Fear: Strategies to Combat Populist and Anti-Democratic Tendencies, the US philosopher Susan Neiman, the sociologist Heinz Bude and the secretary-general of the Goethe-Institut Johannes Ebert, will search for answers and possible means for a society to counter the rise of populist movements.
In their panel on Civil Society Under Pressure, the activists Rana Gaber (Egypt), Beata Kowalska (Poland) and Zhou Qing (China) will discuss challenges and opportunities in the work in their respective countries as well as the question of what role individuals play in political activism.

Guest of Honour Georgia

A series of presentations and programme items are also dedicated to this year’s Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair: Georgia. For example, on 12 October the anthology Georgia: A Literary Journey will be presented in the Georgian Pavilion. German and Georgian authors travelled through the country’s literature and wrote down their personal perspectives in a travel journal.
You can find an overview of all of the Goethe-Institut’s events at the Frankfurt Book Fair here.