Our workshops are open to anyone who can contribute a translation of a poem by a living African, Asian or Latin American poet who has an established reputation in their own language. If you’d like to get involved, please read the information about how to translate with us.
The workshops begin with a language expert introducing us to the original poem, reading it aloud and explaining its cultural context. Next we look at the literal translation of the poem they’ve produced for us; this usually sounds very awkward in English since the idea is for it to be as close as possible to the original text. Our aim in the workshops is to transform this into a new poem in English.
Arriving at the translated poem involves deploying all the resources of English to find words and phrases that are true to the original yet which also convey its special qualities as a poem.
We put all three versions of the poem up on our website so you can see how our translations have emerged. Many of the final versions are produced collectively; others have been finished by an individual member of the group. Your comments are very welcome: translation is always a provisional and contingent activity!
The Poetry Translation Centre is grateful to the following organisations for their support:
If the richness of the ethnic diversity in Britain is to be more than political rhetoric, it has to include access to each other's cultural heritage. Poetry is an enormously important aspect of many of the cultures represented in this country, and translation of this work breaks down barriers. It is vital that the translations be of high quality – that is, that their quality as English poems reflects the original. In this, the Poetry Translation Centre is doing crucial work.Carole Satyamurti, Poet
As an Iranian-born poet, I have always felt keenly the invisibility of my original poetic heritage, and that of countries like mine, despite the presence of our large immigrant communities. Thanks to the Poetry Translation Centre, we are now being made visible in ways essential to a deeper understanding of where we come from, who we are, how we think and feel. The PTC's work is invaluable in giving us a live and vibrant voice in British poetry, and in expanding the horizons of the language and culture so many of us have made a home in.Mimi Khalvati, Poet and Founder of The Poetry School