Other Destinations: Translating the Mid-sized European City

Our Action has as its central focus the relations of human subjects – individuals, groups, communities, societies – with the built environments of mid-sized European cities. Central to this question is the ability of such ‘civic subjects’ to participate in the meanings generated by and in those
cities, and to appropriate such meanings through co-creative, adaptive and transformative processes, many of which have a textual quality.

The inter-cultural and inter-linguistic composition of our Action community requires that full consideration be given to an often neglected aspect of the processes set out above – that while they occur in parallel across the continent, they are often largely imperceptible beyond the national, or
indeed even local, linguistic and cultural space. There is a residual territoriality to every urban space, which it is critically important to maintain in view.

International research collaborations typically elide this problem of mutual visibility, as professionalised international actors identify through an ability to operate in a common language, albeit with often very different underlying perceptions of the meanings at stake.

Translation is thus a key tool when it comes to thinking through the multiple realities involved in ‘writing urban places’. It also opens up the question of our broader work as ‘translational’ – between cultures and linguistics spaces, but also between disciplines, and between the spaces of research and wider social practice.

While English translations of works about prominent European cities are numerous, there is arguably a major deficit of attention to the treatments in contemporary writing of the mid-sized European cities to which our Action has a particular commitment. For complex reasons, including the nature of
the publishing industries in the Anglophone world, such work has been overlooked by translators and publishers alike. More generally, it appears that many of the languages represented in our Action have been less frequently translated into English than others.

Given these considerations, this call intends to bring forth a number of recent, original texts from all languages used in our Action about apparently overlooked mid-size European cities by translating them (fully or as extracts) into English.

The details and conditions of the call are as follows:

Title: Other Destinations. Translating the Mid-sized European City

Activity: To publish 25 – 30 English translations of 21st century texts originally written in other languages, on the topic of mid-sized European cities.

Justification: The translation project intends to enhance the dissemination and accessibility to an international readership of texts about overlooked urban contexts, their stories and signifying practices. It will therefore develop better awareness of these cities, their self-constructions, and their
responses to the challenges of the present.

Source languages: all Action languages except English / Translations into: English

Result: A printed and a digital version of an edited volume (‘Reader’) containing the compilation of said translations, together with an interactive online map situating each translation. Related research and other publications moving from the translation project.

Criteria for submission:

a) Topic of the texts: mid-sized European cities (‘other’ cities – not capitals or metropolises)
b) Genres: non-fiction (excerpts from essays, chronicles, journalism); fiction (short stories, excerpts from novels), non-narrative and experimental texts (including poetry; visual elements). Please choose only texts that have previously not been translated into English.
c) Length of source texts: c. 2000 words (not applicable to poetry) – max. 2500 words
d) Period of source texts: 21st Century (from Y2K onwards)

Steps: 1. open call for submission of original and translated texts, 2. selection, 3. editing, 4. publication, 5. research/analysis of texts; 6. publication of research outcomes

Schedule:

Deadline for submission: 1st September 2021
Please submit your translations (and questions if any) to: writingurbanplaces@gmail.com including the following info: author of source text, title of source text, original excerpt, year it was published, short context (100 words max.), name of translator, translation of title, translation itself in a Word-file.

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