Sunday, June 26, 2016

World Literature on Wikipedia

Are you a Wikipedian? Pusteblume, the journal of literary translation that Pen & Anvil publishes in coordination with the Editorial Institute and the Department of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature (both at Boston University), invites you to join their ongoing project to create English-language pages for noteworthy literary figures and topics which do not yet exist or which only exist in non-English versions. It is called "World Literature on Wikipedia."

If you know of a non-English Wikipedia page, which you think should be translated and posted to a page on the English-language Wikipedia, you can:
  1. Let the Pusteblume staff know, and they'll add it to their queue for to be translated; or
  2. Become a Wikipedian yourself! If you're new to that kind of work, the Pusteblume folks can put you in touch with a seasoned WP editor who can walk you through the process and help you get your first page underway. When the page is created, email Pusteblume so they can add its URL, and your name, to their list of pages completed, and list of participating Wikipedia users. 
The first page to be created under the WLW banner went up today, an article about German literary theorist Wolfgang Kayser, translated from the German article into an English version. Next up will be an article translated into English from Spanish, about the poetic form known as cuaderna vía.

If you agree with the sentiment of any of these three quotes, each of which seems to speak directly to the kind of behind-the-scenes translational labor that the World Literature on Wikipedia project seeks to encourage, you should think about signing on as a contributor. From Mariano Antolín Rato:
Translation is one of the few human activities in which the impossible occurs by principle.
From José Saramago:
Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature.
And finally, from Paul Auster:
Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.

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