As part of the DAAD-funded Writer in Residence programme, final year students from GRMN314 and some second year students attended a 2-hour translation workshop on Friday 1 April.

The students tackled a short story by Larissa Boehning from the successful Christmas-and-cooking-themed collection Bloß keinen Grießbrei an Heiligabend, together with tutor and translator Lyn Marven.

Caitrin Edwards and Chloe Richardson were among those who took part:

For the workshop we prepared the short story ‘Ulmenhonig und Pinguine’ by writer in residence Larissa Boehning. Along with Larissa and Lyn Marven we discussed the initial problems that came up when translating the text.

The first major issue was how to translate the title into English; a literal translation of Ulmenhonig would be Elm honey, but we felt that this didn’t reflect the uniqueness and exotic origin of the product fully. After a vote we decided on Ulmo blossom honey.

As the story is set in Chile there were some Spanish words within the text, one of which was completo (a type of large sandwich containing meat and avocado), but if we were simply to translate this as ‘sandwich’, we would overlook the aspect of Chilean culture. We decided to keep completo as it would be clear in context that it was a type of food and it doesn’t hinder the understanding of the text.

For the second hour of the workshop we split into groups of 3-4 people, in order to translate different sections of the text. Group work proved to be very successful and we had the chance to brainstorm different ideas/opinions, although sometimes compromises had to be made. Personally we really enjoyed the group work and the relaxed atmosphere of the workshop (and the biscuits!).

A further translation workshop on Larissa Boehning’s work will take place on Sunday 10 April as part of a symposium on contemporary literature. See here for the programme.