The Ethics of Translating Poetry

Heather K. Hummel presented a workshop titled, “Necessary Infidelities: The Ethics of Translating Poetry” at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The theoretical conversation about translation has historically been divided over questions of “freedom” vs. “fidelity” or “creative” vs. “literal” approaches. The either/or debate become even more divisive when attempting poetry translations, with some critics maintaining that it is impossible to translate poetry at all. Instead of seeing these concepts in opposition, Heather argues translators of poetry make complicated ethical choices about freedom and fidelity throughout the translation process.

She also published the poem, “Mammography,” in the spring 2015 issue of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment.

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