Workshop “Translation as Cultural Practice: the intersection of language, history and the creative arts”

Coordinator of the Workshop: Margaret Wesseling, translator, playwright.
Application deadline: Sunday, March 1, 2020.
Workshop Date of the two-hour sessions: Saturday, March 21

Applications are now closed.

CHS Greece Translation Workshop globe image

Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayPixabay License

Translation is central to the communicative and transformative activity of culture. Far from being a simple transfer of ideas from one language to another, it inherently ambiguous and creative. It involves making choices that change the nature of the ideas expressed. No translation can be perfect, and translation always influences the language into which it is done. There is no language that has not been shaped by translation and no culture that has not been affected by it, from that of ancient Greece to that of modern English, itself an amalgam of languages, which has been deeply shaped by translations of the Bible, scientific and literary texts, and many others. Translation plays back and forth across the boundaries between languages, importing ideas, changing the translators and building new structures in a culture that enrich and strengthen that culture. In this workshop I would like to more precisely define and formulate my ideas on translation as a way of going forward, and also open up the discussion to other actors in the field of language. I hope to contribute to the debates on translation theory, as well as to further connect with the people of this area and of the world.

Margaret Wesseling


The workshop “Translation as Cultural Practice” is primarily aimed at interested students and graduates of relevant specialties, translators, writers, as well as the general public. It will include a theoretical and a practical part. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with the coordinator, exchange views and delve deeper into different kinds of translation (technical, professional, literary), issues in translation, and translation as cultural communication. The scope of the workshop is to examine translation in its historical and cultural context.

The workshop will consist of two parts.

  • Part I, Saturday morning: The coordinator will talk about several anecdotal accounts of the lives of translators at different times and in different countries, which is aimed to lead into a broader discussion of the influence of translation on culture. The coordinator will also present a detailed discussion of one particular set of translations and talk about issues associated with the process of translation, including audience, vocabulary subgroup, and target language register.
  • Part II, Saturday afternoon: Participants will be invited to encounter some of the issues of translation in the form of group exercises. The scope of the workshop is to point out the significance of translation, which is essential for culture, and to engage the audience in a discussion of its ethics.

Participation in the workshop, as in all creative and academic activities, is organized by CHS Greece, and is offered pro bono.

Important Information

Workshop Objectives

Participants in the workshop are expected to:

  • Broaden their knowledge on issues related to translation.
  • Refine their understanding of the activity of translation and the challenges faced by translators
  • Be sensitized and understand ethical issues of translation
  • Work creatively with each other and practice on translation
  • Experiment with different types of translation by selectively applying the criteria proposed by the coordinator.
  • Consider the social function or functions filled by translation in various social contexts.

During the workshop, participants will:

  • Actively contribute to classroom discussions.
  • Participate in group exercises that will be requested by the coordinator
  • Be invited to commit themselves to be consistent at the schedule involved.

How to apply

The application deadline was Sunday, March 1, 2020.

Venue: The workshop will be held at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece, in Nafplio.

Sessions: The workshop will be intensive. The sessions will take place on Saturday, March 21.

*Please note that each session will last two hours, with a break in between.

Selection of participants: The workshop offers 20 slots. In the event we receive more than 20 applications, participants will be selected by the coordinator, by criterion of the interest, relevance of studies or engagement to translation as described in the submission form.

Announcement of results: All applicants will be notified by the CHS Greece via email. Successful candidates will also be notified via telephone.

Brief Resume of the Coordinator

CHS Greece Wesseling MargaretMargaret Wesseling studied English Language and Literature at Harvard (B.A. Summa cum Laude, 1989), Michigan State University (M.A. 1992), and the University of California, Los Angeles (1994-95). In 1992-93 she studied Medieval Literature on a Fulbright grant at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She attended seminars in theatrical performance and improvisation in Los Angeles (1995-97) and in theatrical writing in Athens (2015-present). Her interests span the historical, poetic and performative aspects of language. She is a professional translator with ten years of experience. She has given a number of dramatic readings and performances in Boston, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and Athens, and written six plays and two books of poetry as well as articles in Greek and English. Most recently the play «Σπουργίτης στην Στέγη» was published by Egokeros (Athens) in November, 2019 and put on in the Athens Suitcase Festival, September 2018 and at Beep Theatre, Athens, in November-December 2019.


For additional information please contact Ms. Matina Goga, CHS Greece Curricular Development Manager, through telephone (+30 27520 47030 ext. 1, Nafplio, Greece) and/or email matina.goga(at)

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