4+1 Conference on Literary Translation

I was given the opportunity to attend a 4+1 traduire/übersetzen/tradurre/translatar in Vevey, Switzerland this past March. When I chose Switzerland as the destination for my study abroad program, I thought I knew a thing or two about the country; I knew I would be housed in the French-speaking region, and that the other region was German-speaking. I knew that my favorite French author, Rousseau, was actually born in Geneva.

I was surprised, however, to find out just how much I didn’t know about the world of Swiss literature and writing. For instance, I had no idea that Switzerland has four official languages and that any Swiss author publishes in one language typically has his or her texts translated into the three languages. Many organizations strongly promote this translation of native authors, and, for that purpose, the 4+1 conference was created. The 4+1 conference is held annually and organized by the Swiss Foundation for the Pro Helvetia culture, along with other organizations of similar interests. This year’s conference was dedicated to the English language – promoting both the translation of texts from English and translation of native authors’ work into English.

Discussion was led by prominent British writers Jonathan Coe and Jon Steele with the help of their translators. Well-known Swiss writers publishing in Italian, German, Romansh, French, and in the Swiss-German dialect and notable American translator, John Taylor, were also present. While, in most cases, translators tend to work outside of the spotlight (their names sometimes don’t even appear on the book jacket) a translated work is just as much the translator’s as it is the author’s.

“More than a translation, the work I do is rewrite another version,” translator Donal McLaughlin said at one keynote. Taylor and McLaughlin shared some of the poems they were in the process of translating—work by Clo Duri Bezzola, Pierre Chapuis, and many more. They discussed the obstacles they faced when translating and the rewarding feeling that came from finding the nearly right word that almost has the same nuance as the original—and how in this way a translated poem becomes a version of the original.

One of the most interesting discussions flouted the French title “L’anglais n’existe pas!” or for those of us who don’t speak French, “English doesn’t exist!” Surprisingly,  the amount of people who spoke English as a second language far surpassed the amount of native English speakers. The debate touched on the validity and plausibility of English as a universal, global language.

Interestingly, questions were often asked in French and then answered in English. Within the same panel, the speakers often would converse in  three or four different  languages to each other and to the audience at any given moment. As technology makes our world feel smaller, the possibilities for growth and community within the literary world becomes greater and greater. We have unlimited access to stories from all over the world, and readers who can read our work from every corner of the globe.

 

Issue 8: We’re Big in Japan

Issue 8: We’re Big in Japan

Now that Issue 8 has launched, we’ve started looking at our Google Analytics to learn more about our readers. Already this has revealed some surprising facts about who visits our site and how they find it. For example, between November 6th and December 6th, 2011, 67% of our viewers visited Superstition Review for the first time. It’s great to know that we’re attracting so many newcomers.

In that same span of time, there were 4,279 unique visits to our site for a total of 13,230 page views. Our readers visited an average of 3 pages per visit, and our most popular section this month was poetry, with a total of 677 views.

41% of viewers visiting our site found us through referring websites, while only 31% found us using a search engine. This statistic shows that we are increasing our affiliations with other like-minded organizations. Not surprisingly, our traffic skyrocketed on December 1st, the day of our launch, with a total of 1,157 unique visitors to our page on that day alone.

Our most frequently viewed contributors from Issue 8 were: Ashley Caveda with 405 views, Eugenio Volpe with 185 views, Nelly Rosario with 166 views, and Steve Yarbrough with 157 views.

We got the most visits from the United States. In the last month, the top 10 cities to view SR were: Phoenix, Tempe, New York, Columbus, Chandler, Scottsdale, Chicago, Ithaca, Indianapolis, and Gilbert.

Google Analytics shows that we are growing internationally as well. Our visitors came from 75 different countries, with the second highest number of hits coming from Japan. Superstition Review was viewed in 34 languages, with the three most popular being American English, British English, and Japanese.

We had a few visitors from some unexpected places. Google Analytics shows that between November 6th and December 6th, we had visitors from Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Latvia, Lithuania, Haiti, Laos, Kuwait, Thailand, and Iceland.

These statistics help us get a sense of who is reading Superstition Review, what sections of our site are most popular, and how our readers find their way to our magazine. It really is exciting to see the data behind our growth as a publication. Thanks to all of our readers for visiting.