ViceVersa: A German-Hebrew Workshop for Literary Translators

The culture of a society is expressed not least by its literary works, with language in the forms of a novel or poems thus containing more than just words. How can translations from Hebrew into Germany or vice versa sensitively convey the truly resonant elements of each mother tongue that extend beyond what is actually being said? This third bilateral workshop of six to seven German and the same number of Hebrew translators once again provides the opportunity for the participants to enter into an intensive exchange about both this question and others important ones surrounding literary translation. For transposing literature into another language is also translation in a broader sense, a process whereby culture, a sense of the language and attitudes towards life are all conveyed.

At this year’s Vice Versa German-Hebrew translation workshop, the projects that the participants are currently working on are also up for discussion. In this way, direct insights can be made into colleagues’ work, with the discussion of concrete examples also reaching the level of general perceptions which all the participants are able to benefit from. Seminars and intensive text work mutually complement one another, just as specialists provide additional impulses. This equally applies to the location of this meeting and collaboration: following previous editions held in Jerusalem and Berlin, the Europäisches Übersetzer-Kollegium (EÜK) in Straelen in North-Rhine Westphalia is the host for this year’s workshop. The EÜK is the first and largest working centre for literary translators in the world and also has a unique library at its disposal which contains both general reference works as well as some of the most up-to-date Hebrew reference books. Aside from direct feedback about each participant’s own individual work, it is above all new bilateral networks of colleagues that will have been created by the end of the project. 

ViceVersa: The German-Hebrew Workshop for Literary Translators is a project by the Europäisches Übersetzer-Kollegium Nordrhein-Westfalen in Straelen e.V. in collaboration with the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature in Bnei Brak. It brings together six to seven previously published German and Israeli translators between May 1 and December 31, 2015 to enter into an exchange and work together within workshops and seminars. The seminar work is structured by one German and one Israeli project leader. The project is brought to a close with an evaluation.