Discussion Translation as Activism: the political responsibility of the translator in the 21st century

Artifically Correct translation project © Goethe-Institut. Illustration: EL BOUM

Wed, 29.09.2021

7:00 PM GMT


International Translation Day 2021

To mark this year's ITD the Goethe-Institut London is looking at the political responsibilities of the translator in our turbulent times. How can translators take an activist role, and is it their responsibility to do so?

Taking part in the discussion are three protagonists whose work reflects on the role of translation in debates surrounding post-colonial literatures, gender and race, and their associated power structures. The discussion will be moderated by Charlotte Ryland from the Stephen Spender Trust, and will feature contributions from poco.lit's Anna von Rath, literary translator Canan Marasligil, and Yousif M Qasmiyeh, a researcher on Refugee Writing at Oxford University.

This online event is part of the Goethe-Institut's Artificially Correct project, which aims to strengthen the position of translators by developing a conscious approach to Machine Translation, and promoting awareness of social diversity and inclusion.

Please register for this event by clicking the button below:


You will receive a link for the online-live session. 

Please notice: The event starts at 19 PM (GMT) / 20 PM (MEZ) / 21 PM (EET).

Technical Requirements:

We will use Zoom Webinar for our panel discussion. We recommend the use of a headset, as speakers can create disturbing echo effects. Participation is possible from PC and Mac, IPad, iPhone, and Android. To participate, simply follow the link we will send you when you register.

About the participants: 

Anna von Rath: 

As the co-publisher of the platform poco.lit and co-curator of the translation project “macht.sprache”, Anna von Rath will be focusing on Postcolonialism, Ecocriticism, Afropolitanism, and German colonial history. Anna has built up an impressive and eclectic academic record – she began studying Anglophone literatures and cultures at the University of Potsdam. She then went on to study English and Foreign Languages at University in Hyderabad in India, and eventually returned to the University of Potsdam, where she completed her PhD in postcolonial literary and cultural studies in 2019. During her PhD, she worked alongside the Research Training Group: minor cosmopolitanisms. She also spent time at Westminster University in London. 

Charlotte Ryland: 

Charlotte Ryland, director of the Stephen Spender Trust and founding director of the Queen’s College Translation Exchange (Oxford), promotes language-learning, multilingualism and translation. In both of her roles within the two organisations, she aims to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in literary translation and aspires to bring creative translation activities into UK schools. Charlotte Ryland also led the New Books in German project until 2019 - a UK-based project, which promotes German-language literature across the world.  

Canan Marasligil:

Canan is a feminist writer, literary translator, artist, editor and curator of cultural programs, whose expertise spans from performing to making podcasts. As a multilinguist, Canan impressively works in English, French, Turkish, Dutch and occasionally in Spanish. She is active in the fields of literature, comics, cultural criticism and art. As an intersectional feminist who strives to challenge dominant narratives, she advocates for representation, equality and diversity. She has developed and launched the Creative Translators Workshop for the Read My World International Literature Festival, aiming to create a pool of diverse translators and multilingual storytellers to work with the festival.  
Yousif M. Qasmiyeh: 

Yousif is both a poet and translator, whose DPhil research at the University of Oxford’s English Faculty explores containment and time in ‘refugee writing’ in English and Arabic.Yousif has a colourful array of creative and academic work - his poetry and translations have appeared in journals and magazines including Modern Poetry in Translation, Stand, Critical QuarterlyGeoHumanities, Cambridge Literary Review and PN Revie. Despite his success as a poet and translator he is also the creative encounters editor of the Migration and Society Journal, the writer-in-residence of the Refugee Hosts research project, and joint lead of the Imagining Futures Baddawi Camp Lab. If you would like to read some of his work, his collection, Writing the Camp (Broken Sleep Books, 2021) was The Poetry Book Society’s “Recommendation for Spring 2021”. The work was also highly commended by the 2021 Forward Prizes.