Reawaken Translation with JoLT

Matthew James Hodgson attends the launch of Trinity Journal of Literary Translation (JoLT) to celebrate the release of its latest issue

On November 24, the Trinity Journal of Literary Translation (JoLT) hosted a launch party for the release of its latest issue. The launch was hosted upstairs at Doyle’s Pub to celebrate the continued success of the magazine, now in its eleventh volume following its inaugural publication just over a decade ago. Under the guidance of a strong editorial team and Editor-in-Chief Anastasia Fedosova, the magazine’s latest release marks a new chapter in the post-pandemic history of Trinity student translations and publications.

The latest issue of JoLT begins with an introduction by Fedosova, in which she translates a section from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Dostoevsky’s short story was a perfect way to start the issue because it focuses on a man, a “wise fool” in Dostoevskian terms, who experiences a revelatory crisis in the shape of a dream or inward journey. An instantaneous transformation takes place in his life on waking from the dream, in which he realises humankind’s goodness and the possibility of endless love. The story demonstrates the power of dreams to form our reality. Inspired by Dostoevsky’s story, Fedosova and her editorial team decided on “dreams” as the theme for this first issue. In the introduction, Fedosova writes: “in a sense, dreams themselves are a form of translation and a form of communication, perhaps the most honest one.”

Speaking to Trinity News, Fedosova mentioned a module she took last year, during which the class studied surrealist and automatic writing. This would prove important in the editorial team’s decision about the theme. “Like surrealism, dreams create a freedom of the mind; when you enter the realm of dreams, you are free of the restrictions and structures of the world, including the restrictions you put on yourself,” she said.

Translation itself is a gift which shares beautiful sentiments across barriers.

At the launch party, which hosted over forty people, contributors were given the opportunity to read and show off their translations, as well as provide a little background about their interest in the area and the pieces they chose to translate. The readings began after an initial introduction by Fedosova, during which she praised the diversity of the latest publication and spoke briefly about the theme of dreams, which was interpreted in more ways than she thought possible. She said, “Our goal for the year is to reach more people and collaborate with more cultural institutions and artists connected to the field of literary translation. Also to garner more interest in the art of translation.” It was not difficult to see that everyone who shared their work held the piece they had translated very close to their hearts. Everyone who spoke created the unmistakable impression that they cared deeply for their translated work, proving that translation itself is a gift which shares beautiful sentiments across barriers. Translation is an act close to the heart because language is close to the heart.

A variety of languages, such as Spanish, Irish, Polish and Hebrew, were recited at Doyle’s, demonstrating the diversity of the College community, as well as the broad-ranging interests of its students and varied interpretations of the theme. The magazine includes poems, prose, drama, and artwork, with art itself being an impactful mode of translation. Penny Stuart, a contributing artist in six consecutive issues of JoLT, showed the group her charcoal and multimedia illustrations, which explore themes of metamorphosis, audacity, and prophecy. She is currently planning an exhibition at Sweny’s Pharmacy with organisers of the Bloomsday celebration.

This particular issue was unique for the magazine due to its inclusion of a first critical essay discussing Italian adaptations of James Joyce’s Dubliners, with particular focus on the theme of dreams in music. The essay was contributed by Sara Begali, who graduated from Verona University with a concentration on literary translation. Fedosova said she hopes to continue publishing academic essays in JoLT to showcase the academic side of translational studies, which walks a tightrope between the artistic and critical.

“Literary translation is a young discipline. Publishing the critical essay was a great way of contributing to the field and it was an honour for our editorial team to include it,” said Fedosova. She also expressed pride and gratitude for everyone involved in the publication: contributors, editors, and readers. She expects the next term’s issue to improve on the latest now that the editorial team has learned from experience.

For more information about the Trinity Journal of Literary Translation, you can contact the team via email at: [email protected] Alternatively, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Check out their website to see a digital copy of the recent issue at trinityjolt.org.