Seminar in Literary Translation

Selected lectures and presentations from BU’s long-running seminar, “The Theory and Practice of Literary Translation,” in which noted translators discuss the problems, pleasures, and mysteries of their craft.

The listing below is a partial selection of available offerings.  Lectures are added on an ongoing basis.  For a complete listing of Lectures search our catalog.

Click on the year heading to see recordings for that year.


Ken Liu – Betrayal With Integrity: Two Case Studies on Colonial and Postcolonial Power Dynamics in Translation To/From Chinese (January 27, 2023)
Ted Goossen – Japanese Monkeys in the Making: Fifteen years of Monkey (Business) (February 3, 2023)
James Wood – Translating Madame Bovary into English: Some Instances (February 10, 2023)
Susan Harris and Chad Post – Publishing Translations (February 17, 2023)
Vala Thorodds and Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir – Destination Unknown: Translating Avant-garde Icelandic poetry (March 17, 2023)
Huda Fakhreddine – The Translated Poem, An Invitation to the Arabic Tradition (February 24, 2023)
Julia Sanches – Walking the Tightrope: Translating Cultural Difference and Stylistic Ambiguity in Spanish (March 24, 2023)
Peter Constantine – Sounding Natural: The Craft of Dialogue in Translation (March 31, 2023)
Carlos Rojas – Translating Difference: On Preserving Linguistic Divides in Literature from the Global Sinosphere (April 14, 2023)
Christopher Maurer – In My Brother’s Footsteps, Toward a Peruvian Poet (Carlos Germán Belli) (April 21, 2023)


Gabriella Page-Fort, Translators Are The Beating Heart–and The Turning Wheel–of The Lit in Translation Publishing World (January 28, 2022)
Esther Allen, Antonio Di Benedetto in Conversation with Himself: Revision and Translation in the Trilogy of Expectation (February 4, 2022)
Jeremy Tiang, The Translator as Performer: Theater in Translation, Translation in Theater (February 11, 2022)
Tracy K. Smith, On Translating the Poems of Yi Lei (February 18, 2022)
Karen Emmerich and Ersi Sotiropoulos, On Translating and Being Translated (February 25, 2022)
Michael Cooperson, From al-Hariri’s Ludic Arabic to an Englished OuLiPo (March 18, 2022)
Boris Dralyuk, At A Glance: The Poems of Julia Nemirovskaya (April 8, 2022)
Joanna Trzeciak Huss, No Other Beyond: On Translating Zuzanna Ginczanka (April 22, 2022)


Benjamin Moser, In Conversation (January 29, 2021)
Juan Mandelbaum, Not Lost in Translation: The Challenges in Translating Documentary Films from English to Spanish and vice-versa (February 12, 2021)
Michael Berry, Translation and the Virus: COVID-19, Cyber Politics, and Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary (February 19, 2021)
Emily Apter, Reparative Translation in Theory and Practice (February 26, 2021)
Juliet Carpenter, From Abe to Zen and Beyond: The Fascination of Translating Japanese Literature (March 5, 2021)
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Conversation (March 12, 2021)
Fiona Mackintosh & Iona Macintyre,The Language the Three of Us Invented: Collaborative Translation of The Adventures of China Iron (March 19, 2021)
Marc Shell, Language War: On Anthologizing Literaturesof What is Now the United States (March 26, 2021)
Natasha Hakimi Zapata, Es cuestión de inspirarse: Translating Colloquialisms, Regionalisms, and Slang from Spanish to English (April 2, 2021)
Ann Goldstein, Elena Ferrante and the Art of Translation (April 9, 2021)
Allison Markin Powell, Strong Woman, Soft Power: Japanese Women Writers in English Translations (April 16, 2021)
Arthur Goldhammer, Is Scholarly Translation ‘Literary’? (April 23, 2021)


Robert Pinsky, Each Language…Its Own Melody (January 24, 2020)
Adel Fauzetdinova, How ‘Bad’ Translations made ‘Good’ Literature: The Dostoevsky on the Pampas Case. (January 31, 2020)
Chantal Ringuet, Translating Yiddish literature in the Americas: Transnational Perspectives (February 7, 2020)
Ilan Stavans, Translation as Hallucination (February 14, 2020)
Regina Galasso, Translation: Art and Professionalism (February 28, 2020)
Jennifer Croft, Syntax and Microsuspense: Translating Word Order (March 3, 2020)
Danuta Borchardt, Crossing the River from One’s Native into an Acquired Language (March 27, 2020)
Marian Schwartz, From Berberova to Slavnikova: My Decades Translating Russian Women Writers (April 3, 2020)
Margaret Litvin, Tongue-Tied Internationalism: Adventures with a Soviet Setting, an Egyptian Novel, and an Indian Press (April 10, 2020)
Guillermo Martínez/Alberto Manguel, Writing in Two Voices. Guillermo Martinez and Alberto Manguel on Alicia/Alice and The Murders in Wonderland (April 17, 2020)
Peter Bush, Translating Classics: Balzac and Pla (Friday, April 24, 2020)


Paul Raccuglia: Machine Translation: Principles and Peculiarities (February 1, 2019)
T Jefferson Kline: Crossing the Channel: Translating Merle’s Fortunes de France for an Anglo-Saxon Audience (February 8, 2019)
Sholeh Wolpé: Love and Murder on the Translation Express: from Attar to Whitman (February 15, 2019)
Pascale Drouet: From Bonnefoy to Kinnel: Translation and Transmission (February 22, 2019)
Herbert Golder: “The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen…”: The Metaphora of Cinema (March 1, 2019)
Robyn Cresswell and Iman Mersal: Migrations of the Tongue: A Conversation about Arabic Poetry and Translation (March 22, 2019)
Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer: Hitting the Refresh Button on Vergil’s Aeneid (March 29, 2019)
Vyvyane Loh: Breaking the Tongue (April 5, 2019)
Bill Johnston: Epic Foolishness: Translating Epic Poetry in the 21st Century (April 12, 2019)
Ana Luísa Amaral and Margaret Jull Costa: Sharing a Grammar: A Reading and Conversation with Ana Luísa Amaral and Margaret Jull Costa (April 19, 2019)
Nick Montfort: Translating Computational Poetry (April 26, 2019)


Efran Kristal: Fictional Knights, Araucanian Heroes and Literary Translators [January 26, 2018]
Caroline Alexander: On Translating Homer’s Iliad: ‘Lessons from the Master’ [February 2, 2018]
Jahan Ramazani: The Language of Lyric: Untranslatable or World Literature? [February 9, 2018]
Christopher Childers: Translating Meter, from Sappho to Horace [February 23, 2018]
Kerim Yasar: Burn While Reading: Subtitle Translation and Poetics of the Impossible [March 16, 2018]
Charlie Louth: Poem upon Poem: Poets Translating Poets [March 23, 2018]
Michael Katz: Translation Matters [April 6, 2018]
Anthony Chambers: Tanizaki’s Reader on Style: Theodore Dreiser, National Character, and Translation [April 13, 2018]
Lindsey D. Snyder: Translating Shakespeare into American Sign Language [April 20, 2018]


Translating Yiddish Poetry – Abigail Gillman, Kathryn Hellerstein, Richard Fein [January 27, 2017]
Creation and Collaboration: Signs and Transmigration – Yuri Herrera, Lisa Dillman [February 3, 2017]
Publishing Literature in Translation – Barbara Epler, Susan Harris, Jill Schoolman [March 3, 2017]
Translation: The Editor’s Share – Edwin Frank [March 24, 2017]
Translating War, Translation War – Eilean Ni Chuilleanain [April 07, 2017]
Into English: One Poem, Three Translations – Alissa Leigh-Valles, Martha Collins, Kevin Prufer [April 14, 2017]
In and Out of Japanese – A Dialogue – Motoyuki Shibata, J. Keith Vincent [May 1, 2017]


Christopher Ricks – Beckett’s Translating Himself [01-29-2016]
Lawrence Venuti – Translating J.V. Foix’s Daybook 1918 – The Strangeness of Minority [02-19-2016]
Virginia Jewiss – This Must Be the Place Getting Italian Films to Speak English [02-26-2016]
Robert Pinsky and Luis Alberto Ambroggio – Translated and Translator – Ginza Samba – Poemas Escogidos [03-04-2016]
Irina Mashinski -Translating as the Art of Variations – Russian Poetry and the Myth of Singularity [03-18-2016]
David Hinton – Translating Classical Chinese poetry [04-8-2016]
Michael Emmerich – On Translating The Tale of Genji into Japanese [04-15-2016]
Frederick Ahl and Sarah Ruden – Translating Vergil’s Aeneid – A Conversation [04-22-2016]


Natasha Wimmer – After Bolano – Translating in the Wake of 2666 [01-30-15]
Karl Kirchwey – More Honor in Betrayal than in Being FaithFul By Halves [02-06-2015]
Bill Coyle, Nora Delaney, Erica Mena, James Stotts – Young Translators At Work [02-13-2015]
Halyna Hryn – Translation Memory Codes – Ukranian Case Studies [02-20-2015]
Eliza Grizwold – Landays – War, Love, And Drones in Afghan Fold Poems [02-27-2015]
Sassan Tabatabai – Intent and Amgiguity – Translating Persian Poetry into English [03-20-15]
Daisy Rockwell – Translating a Hindi Classic into English Aesthetics or “How Can I Convince Everyone This Novel is Awesome?” [03-27-15]


Bill Johnson – Szymek from the village and Joe from Missouri [02-01-2013]
Jonathan Galassi – Translating Giacomo Leopardi – Italy’s Great Romantic Poet [02-08-2013]
Esther Allen and José Prieto – Reckless Internationalism [02-22-2013]
Philip Boehm – Behind the Lines, Notes from the Field [03-01-2013]
John Van Sickle – Bucolic Analogue – From Latine Poem-Book to English Verse [03-22-2013]
Diana Der Hovanessian – How Daniel Varoujan Changed My Life and What He Can Still Do For Your Poetry [03-29-2013]
Tom Yuill – Villon, Paris and the Art of Imitation [04-05-2013]
Jeffrey Yang – The Tiger and the Shaman [04-26-2013]


Michael Henry Heim – Converying Cultural Difference in Translation-From a Translator’s Notebook [01-27-12]
David Ferry – While Translation the Aeneid [02-24-12]
Rachel Hadas ‘Two Greeks, One Poetry’ [03-02-12]


Ilya Bernstein – The Ferility and Sterility of the Translator [01-21-2011]
Danuta Borchardt – Translating Witold Gombrowicz’s Pornographia and Trans-Atlantyk [01-28-2011]
Indra Levy – Engendered by Translation – The Westernesque Femme Fatale in Modern Japanese Lit [02-04-2011]
Shahryar Mandanipour with Sara Khalili – Stripping the ironclad word [02-11-2011]
Lisa Dillman – WTF. Sex and swearing in translation [02-25-2011]
Senelick – Selling Chekhov Whole – On Translating The Complete Plays of Anton Chekhov [03-04-2011]
Janet Poole – The Antiquarian’s Task-Translating Eastern Sentiments [04-08-11]
Jeffrey Angles – Translating Queers – Queer Translating [04-15-11]
Aron Aji – Maker of the Song He Sang-Translating Bilge Karasu’s Turkish
Naomi Seidman – The Navel of the Dream, Translating Freud’s Jewish Languages


Forrest Gander – Translating poetry from Spain and Latin America [01-15-2010]
Yehudi Wyner – Words and Music [01-29-2010]
Michael Hofmann – Translating German [02-05-2010]
Arthur Sze – Translating Chinese poetry [02-19-2010]
Donald Keene – Translating Japanese [02-26-2010]
Norman Shapiro – Translating French comedy [04-16-2010]


Clare Cavanagh – Praising the Mutilated Word – On Translating Polish Poetry [04-17-2009]
Marie Borroff – Translating Sir Gawain and the Green Knight [04-03-2009]
Stephen Owen – Translating Traditions: Chinese Poetry in Sets [02-02-2009]


Frederick Ahl – Greek and Latin Poetry [02-01-2008]
Mary Ann Caws – French Contractions [02-08-2008]
David McCann – Korean Poetry [02-15-2008]
Humphrey Tonkin – Translation into Esperanto [02-22-1008]
Peter Cole – Translating Hebrew Poetry [04-11-2008]


Robert Hahn – English to Italian – Italian to English [01-26-2007]
Roger Greenwald – Poetry from Norway and Denmark [02-02-2007]
David Pellauer – Translating from French [02-09-2007]
Richard Serrano – Translating Chinese and Arabic Poetry [02-16-2007]
Mark Schafer – Translating from Spanish [02-23-2007]
Richard Sieburth – Translating a French Renaissance Poet [03-02-2007]
Bowen & Nguyen – Translating Zen poems from Vietnamese [03-09-2007]
Nehemia Polen – The Hebrew Writings of Malkah Shapiro [03-23-2007]
Sidney Wade – Translating from the Turkish [03-30-2007]
Lisa Katz – Translating Hebrew [04-13-2007]
Peter Fallon – Translating Virgil [04-20-2007]


Ulrich Baer – Translating Rilke’s letters [02-10-2006]
Norman Shapiro – Translating Prevert-Greenfield [02-24-2006]
Robert Henricks – Texts in tombs in China [03-17-2006]
Gideon Lester Translating for the modern stage [03-24-2006]
Christopher Maurer – Translating Collected Poems [03-31-2006]
Stephen Cohn – Some translations of Rilke [04-07-2006]
David Ferry – Translating Georgics [04-14-2006]
Laurie Patton – Translating the Sanskrit Gita [04-21-2006]


Christopher Mattison – Editing and translation in contemporary publishing [02-04-2005]
Lydia Davis – Translating Proust’s Swann’s Way [02-11-2005]
Alane Mason – Internet publishing and international literature [02-25-2005]
Eamon Grennan – Bringing Leopardi’s Italian into English [04-04-2005]
Edith Grossman translating Cervantes [03-18-2005]
Dick Davis – On translating Persian poetry [04-01-2005]
Tony Barnstone – Inventing Chinese poetry [04-08-2005]
Robert Fagles translating Homer’s Odyssey [04-29-2005]


Sheldon Gilman & Bob Levine – 3 German Expressionists [02-17-2004]


Jim Kates – Freedom, Fraud, and Schadenfreude [01-17-2003]
The Theoharis – Cavafy’s Poems [01-24-2003]
Michael Hoffman – Death Warmed Up: Two Translations from the Fifties, One from the Nineties, of Wolfgang Koeppen’s German Masterpiece, Death in Rome [01-31-2003]
Diana der Hovanessian – Love Poems and Proverbs from the Armenian [02-14-2003]
David Connolly – On Translating a Greek Poem by Nikos Engonopouls [02-21-2003]
Michael Hulse – Translating W.G. Sebald [02-28-2003]
Frank Nisetich – Callimachus – From Alexandrian Greek to American English [03-21-2003]
Christopher Middleton – The Helvetic Arabesque in Robert Walser’s Microscripts [03-28-2003]
Merilyn Hacker – Some Contemporary French Poets [04-04-2003]
Lucio Mariani and Anthony Molino – Echos of Memory: On Translating the Work of Lucio Mariani [04-11-2003]
Peter France – The Poets’ Phedre – Translations by Ted Hughes and Edwin Morgan [04-25-2003]


Ron Jenkins – Laughing Hieroglyphs – Translating Dario Fo [01-26-2001]
Will Waters – What is Lost There – Reading, Translating and Comparative Literature [02-02-2001]
Zhu Hiong on Su Xiaokang’s Memoir of a Misfortune [02-09-2001]
Michael Heim – Free or Literal, Let Text Decide [02-16-2001]
Roger Shattuck – Ockham’s Razor and Proust’s Beard- Translating Proust [02-23-2001]
James Hoggard – The Poetry of Oscar Hahn [03-16-2001]
Cola Franzen – The Poetry of Jorge Guillén – Readings from Horses in the Air [03-23-2001]
Madeline G. Levine – Negotiating -Polish Provincialism – The Prose of Czeslaw Milosz [03-30-2001]
Angela Livingstone – Translating Tsvetaeva’s Poetryand Platonov’s Prose into Englash Verse [04-06-2001]
Sassan Tabatabai – Of Roses and Nightingales – Translating the Poetry of Rudaki [04-20-2001]
Diana Burgin – From Eugene Onegin to Richard Burgin – The Making of a Transgeneric Translation [04-27-2001]


Alfred MacAdam – Translation and its discontents [Cortazar, Fuentes, Pessoa][02-05-1999]
Christopher Merrill – Translations from the Balkan war zone [02-12-1999]
Michael Hofmann – Confessions of a translator [02-26-1999]
Eve Zimmerman – Substantive fiction in Japanese outcast literature [03-05-1999]
H. Mack Horton – Thoughts on translating classical Japanese [03-26-1999]


Emery George – The Translator’s Workshop – Miklkos Radnoti and Janos Pilinsky [01-23-1998]
Charles Martin – In Praise of Paraphrase: Getting Back at Horace [01-30-1998]
Martha Collins – Translating Vietnamese (Nguyen Quang Thieu) Lecture [02-13-1998]
Richard Pevear – Translating Polyphony – A Translators Encounter with Dostoevsky’s Prose Lecture  [02-20-1998]
Agha Shalid Ali – A Dual Loyalty – Urdu and English [03-06-1998]
W.S. Di Piero – Translating Italian – From the Ground Up [03-20-1998]
Chana Bloch – Translating Hebrew Poetry Ancent and Modern [03-27-1998]
John Felstiner – Speak Through My Words – Translating Neruda and Celan [04-03-1998]
T. Jefferson Kline – The Languages of Literature and Film – Crimes and Punishments [04-17-1998]
René Gallet and Geoffrey Hill – Translating Gerard Manley Hopkin: Reading from “The Triumph of Love” [04-24-1998]
Rosanna Warren – Remarks on Translation [1998]


Arthur Goldhammer – Sculpting with Words – How to do things with style [1997]
Christopher Ricks – Beckett’s Allusions, English and French [02-16-1997]
Norman Shapiro – Traduttore seduttore – On the Art and Pleasure of Translation [1997]
Gregory Rabassa – If this be Treason – Translation and its Discontents [1997]
Harry Zohn – Jest, Satire, Irony – Translating Kraus and Tucholsky [02-21-1997]
Richard Howard – The Inside of the Outside: Stenghal, Proust, and Others [03-21-1997)
Paul West – “Bless thee, Bottom! thou art translated”; Grace Notes of a Bottom Feeder [02-28-1997]
Linda Asher – Kundera: In French into English [04-04-1997]
George Steiner – After After Babel [04-11-1997]
Lawrence Venuti – Translation: Writing a Minor Literature [04-18-1997]
Richard Wilbur – Voltaire, Villon, and Others [04-25-1997]


Feldman – An Italian Poetry Miscellany [1996]
Bob Hueckstedt – Translating Current Hindi Literature [1996]
Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno – Translating Spanish Traditions [1996]
Barnstone – Irreverences of Lit. Translation [Chinese, Greek, Spanish]  [1996]


John Peck: The poems and Translations of Hi-Lo [January 27, 1995]
Barbara Goldberg and Moshe Dor: Holy Moses: The Bible as a Muse [February 3, 1995]
Rachel Hadas: As if the language, suddenly with ease [February 10, 1995]
Amanda Powell: Gender, Culture, History: Translatin Nuns [March 3, 1995]
Annette Smith: Frederick Douglass in Translation: Avatars of the Slave’s Narrative [March 17, 1995]
Alicia Borinksy and Cola Franzen: Author and Translator: A Collaboration [April 7, 1995]
Roger Greenwald: Catching the Music in Scandinavian Poetry [April 14, 1995]
Charles Tomlinson: Dryden Makes it New [April 21, 1995]
Ruth Wisse: Repression of Aggression: Problems in the Translation of Jewish Literature [April 28, 1995]


Charles Simic – When the Impossible Happens- Translating Lyric Poetry [01-28-1994]
Paul Schmidt – Translating for the Stage [02-04-1994]
Michael Mazur – Dante’s Inferno-Illustration as Translation [02-25-1994]
Yopie Prins – Sappho in Translation [03-18-1994]
Karen Van Dyke – Translating Contemporary Greek Women’s Poetry [03-25-1994]
Mark Polizzotti – The Translator as Publisher as Translator [04-01-1994]
Frank Bidart – Translation and a Poet’s Project [04-08-94]
Robert Mazey – Begotten by Despair upon Impossibility [04-15-1994]
Donald Keene – The Pleasures and Perils of Translating from Japanese [04-29-1994]


Thomas Pangle – Problems of Translating Plato [01-29-1993]
Zu Hong- Preserving the Chineseness of Chinese Literature in English Translation [02-26-1993]
C.J. Herington – Meter in Anchient Greek and Latin [03-19-1993]
Yves Bonnefoy – Poetry English to French [04-29-1993]
Rika Lesser – Translating from Swedish [04-16-1993]
Coleman and Padilla – The Problematics of Spanish to English  [04-23-1993]
Artem Haroutiunian – The Critical Reception of Post-WWII Poetry in Armenia [04-02-1993]


Carolyne Wright – A Question Of Priorities- Translating Bengali Women Writers [01-17-1992]
T. B. Irving – Translation Seminar [01-24-1992]
Annette Smith – ‘The Dilemmas of Translating Cesire’ [01-31-1992]
Alexis Levitin – Translator At Work – Apologia Of A Pragmatist [02-05-1992]
David Ferry – Gilgamesh [1992]
Harvey Mansfield – Translating Machiavelli [02-14-1992]
Robert Levine – Translating History – Chronicles and Poems of the First Crusade [02-21-1992]
Eliot Weinberger – Translating Octavio Paz [02-28-1992]
Seth Benardete – Untwisting Playdough [03-13-1992]
Marie Borroff – Translating Sir Gawain [03-27-1992]
Jeff Kline – Rohmer into Rohmer [04-03-1992]
Suzanne Levine – Translating Latin American fiction [04-24-92]


D.S. Carne-Ross – Controversy in Translation [1979]
Ben Bennani – Translating from Arabic [1979]
Ruth Whitman – Isaac Singer and Jacob Glatstein [1979]
Christopher Logue – Translating the Iliad [1979]
Willis Barnstone – Translating Poetry [1979]
Paul Schmidt – Translating for the Stage [1979]
Athan Anagnostopoulis – Seferis, Ritsos & Elytis In Translation [1979]


D.S. Carne-Ross – Knowing Your Instrument [09-22-1978]
William Porter – Three Odes of Horace [09-29-1978]
John Ciardi – The Nature of Words [10-10-1978]
Everett Fox – David and Bathsheba Story [10-06-1978]
Henry Morrison – Indian Language of the Northwest [10-13-1978]
Janet Lemke – Versions of Persians [10-27-1978]
Theophilos Frangopoulos – Problems of Translating Modern Greek [11-03-1978]
Emily Hanawalt and Nathaniel B. Smith- Style and Idea – Translating the Troubadors [11-10-1978]
Harriett Watts – Three Poet-Painters-Translators [11-17-1978]
Dennis Tedlock – Mythography and Mythologiques [10-20-1978]
Gerald Fitzgerald – In Praise of Folly [12-08-1978]