It has been a year of slow but satisfying progress for In Other Words: Bryn Mawr in Translation, a website devoted to works translated by members of the BMC community that celebrates the rich experience of creative life in a multilingual academic environment. Just before our scheduled launch party to mark the publication of the online magazine, the COVID-19 shutdown went into effect. This prevented us from properly celebrating contributions of faculty, staff, alumnx, and students in bringing the project to life. LITS staffer Alice McGrath, taking over for Alicia Peaker, has solved innumerable WordPress problems and helped realize the vision of the project. Millicent Auma ’21, has worked to transition day to day site maintenance to Foqia Shahid ’23.
Two recent additions to the site demonstrate the spirit of In Other Words:
B.J. Epstein ’01 has translated an excerpt from the Swedish novel Havet (The Sea) by Mats Kempe. Her accompanying translator’s note is itself an exquisite piece of writing, and her biographical note exemplifies the wide-ranging talents and interests of a Mawrter. She is a writer, translator, editor, and senior lecturer in translation at the University of East Anglia where, among other topics, she writes about the representation of LGBTQ characters in children’s and young adult literature. In addition to sharing her translation, B.J., along with fellow translator Carley Hydusik ’94, has held two lively and well attended zoom sessions for students and alums interested in careers as translators, hosted by the Career & Civic Engagement Center.
Sweeta Yaqoobi ’21 has contributed a culturally and personally informed Farsi to English translation of two Persian poems attributed to Rumi. As Sweeta explains in her translator’s note, “I wanted to take a different approach translating these poems. My intention was to offer a word-by-word translation in order to give the reader the liberty of interpreting the work themselves. As a native Farsi speaker, my experience of reading Maulana’s [Rumi’s] poems while translated in this manner is the closest to when I read the text in the original language. I wanted to offer the reader a glimpse into how the poems could be felt and experienced in the original form by a native speaker of the language.”
It is this ability of translation to build interpersonal relationships and transcultural bridges that lies at the heart of In Other Words. Looking ahead, this year we hope to establish a representative editorial board, to encourage submissions by Bryn Mawr staff (the only group missing from our translators), and to increase both readership and participation in amplifying the voices of multilingual members of our community.