Translating the Mid-sized
Michael G. Kelly, Jorge Mejía Hernández, Sonja Novak, Giuseppe Resta
The present collection of translations arises from our work within Writing Urban Places, a network of researchers interested in the different ways citizens appropriate meaningful built environments through stories, and in doing so are also better able to integrate with others. A key locus in this respect is what our network has termed the ‘mid-sized’ [or ‘intermediate’] European city. Often afforded only cursory attention in the discussion of both culture and society, overlooked in favour of more usual suspects, such urban places allow for a more de-centred, and on occasions regionally focused, view of urban practices, even as they play host to a significant element of contemporary European life and experience. The quest for meaningfulness and appropriation of the urban environment through co-creative, adaptive, and transformative processes (many of which have a textual quality) became central to the theoretical framework of this initiative. Between the individual places in which such processes could be observed and documented, we hypothesized, arises the problem of intermediation – the move from place to place, and its techniques. Translation, more than a textual practice among others, emerged as a structuring consideration of the project at a European scale. Other Destinations is the outcome of this collective process presented here, offering entry into this work to an English-language readership for the first time. We hope that, even as they bring their cities of origin somewhat closer to a new readership, those readers will be uprooted and moved some distance in the direction of these ‘other destinations.’
The edited volume Other Destinations. Translating the Mid-sized European City thus features English translations of 15 21st century (mainly) literary texts published in different media (books, podcasts, journals, online/social media) originally written in languages other than English and that have not previously been translated into English. The selected texts cover the topic of mid-sized European cities, where mid-sized does not solely refer to the size in terms of geographical scope or the number of inhabitants, but also to their socio-historical context of urban identity where these cities are neither metropolises nor small towns, but “other”, lesser-known European cities. The texts selected to be translated in this edited volume cover cities like Volos, Canakkale, Varna, Plovdiv, Durres, Tirana, Porto, Den Haag, Osijek, Salzburg, Naples, Zrenjanin, Loule and others…. The publication intends to enhance the dissemination and accessibility to an international readership of texts about overlooked urban contexts, “other”, lesser-known European cities, their stories and signifying practices in order to develop a better awareness of these cities, their self-constructions, and their responses to the challenges of the present.
Giuseppe Resta & Sonja Novak