It is generally regarded that poetic texts are particularly difficult to translate. On several occasions, as part of the advanced seminar “Workshop in Translation” (Russian 334) students at Dickinson have had opportunities to work with poets and professional translators. During her stay at Dickinson in 2004, 2006, and 2013, world-renowned Russian poet Vera Pavlova led a discussion of her poems in which students were asked to translate them. Students worked together with Pavlova’s translator, Steven Seymour – a former translator and interpreter for the US Department of State. During the workshop with Pavlova and Seymour, students discussed and worked through many of the difficulties of translating poems from Russian into English. They used their acquired knowledge to better understand the imagery and nuances of Pavlova’s poetic language.
Students’ translations then were read and judged by Pavlova’s long term translator into English, Steven Seymour. Gaining professional insight and feedback, students found this experience most rewarding.
Caitlin Moriarty ‘13, Alexandra North ‘13, and Maria Smirnova ‘13 work through a particularly difficult passage and Seymour and Pavlova listen to students' translations.
From the left: Vera Pavlova, Emily Kodama '05, Jenny Webb '05, Johnathan Stains '05, Suzanne Eshelman '05, Samantha Derr '05 and Elena Duzs after the translation class in Dickinson in 2004.