The Festival


translationale berlin 2023
Festival for Literary Translation

November 09 – November 12, 2023

Collegium Hungaricum Berlin
Dorotheenstr. 12
10117 Berlin

Welcome to translationale berlin 2023! Caribou! Welcome!

translationale berlin, the festival for literary translation, is entering its third season this year. A festival of literatures and the art of translation awaits you at the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin from 09 to 12 November 2023. With over 90 participants from Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, we celebrate multilingualism, the richness of translation cultures and the precise and exuberant imagination of translators, without whom encounters and exchange with other cultures would be impossible.

The subtitle of this year’s festival introduces its thematic focus: Sauti ya Afrika (Swahili) can be translated as “voice of Africa” or “sound of Africa”. The English “Sounding Africa” can also mean “sounding out Africa” in addition to “sounding Africa”. With this theme, we want to invite you to listen to voices from Africa and African languages and discover something of the literary and cultural richness of the continent’s diverse traditions. Almost a third of the world’s languages – over 2,000 – are spoken in Africa. While almost all languages spoken by Europeans come from one language family, Africa has 35 different language families, plus various isolated languages.

With the festival, we also want to open a resonance space for languages spoken by few and threatened with extinction. A small exhibition will inform you about some African languages, which you can hear on audiovisual media and see on kangas. In addition, we will present readings by poets and translators and music from the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and the African diasporas of Britain, Brazil and Germany. Afro-Brazilian translator Jess Oliveira will give the festival address on the echoes of African language influences in translations in the context of the Black Atlantic. Ouma Katrina Esau, the last living fluent speaker of the South African language N|uu will speak with Tom Güldemann and Christfried Naumann, who research this language, about her commitment as a translator of her endangered mother tongue for younger generations. A staged reading of the play The Trial of Dedan Kĩmathiby Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo, translated into German for the first time by Henning Bochert, will conclude our festival with multilingual actors. In addition, you will find further events on the focus, for which our curator, the Kenyan translator Wangũi wa Goro, is primarily responsible.

You can look forward to a varied programme that is aimed not only at experienced translators as well as the next generation, but also at a broad audience interested in languages and literatures: Themes include translating war texts from Ukraine, the use of translation AIs, the sensuality and physicality of translation, translating multilingual or graphic literature, and the significance of translation for the development of philosophical and psychoanalytical theories – literary translators bring the topics that move us all to the stage in a lively and skilful way.

The translationale berlin is an international network and has invited translation and literature festivals from all over Europe to Berlin for an exchange of ideas in the “Sharing Pool”.

Five workshops on translation, including from and into African languages, for young people and for professional translators offer space for participation and learning about other languages and translation methods.

translationale berlin 2023 is generously supported by funds from the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion of the State of Berlin. We would like to express our sincere thanks for this.

We would also like to thank Márta Nagy, Karoline Kerkai, Zoltán Demeter, András Varga and all the staff of the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, who are co-organising our festival for the third time in such a friendly and collaborative way.

We would also like to thank our media partner rbb Kultur and our cooperation partners, with whom we are associated for several events: the international literature festival berlin – ilb, InterKontinental/African Book Festival, the Seminar for African Studies at Humboldt University Berlin and TRANSLATORIUM. Festival for Literature and Translation from Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine.

We would like to invite you to experience in the stage light of the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin how translators navigate through the diversity of literatures and languages and make a poetic and clever contribution to the experience of cultural and linguistic diversity.

Henning Bochert, Wangũi wa Goro, Annina Lehmann, Aurélie Maurin, Dorota Stroińska and Asmus Trautsch