What is translation and how is it experienced? In this episode, three translators explore their experiences of inhabiting multiple languages in a portrayal of life in translation, of translation as a part of everyday life, of translation as survival, and of people as translated beings.
Interviews with Kavita Bhanot, Yovanka Paquete Perdigão and Nariman Youssef. Made by Gitanjali Patel and Miia Laine as part of the Visible Communities residency at the National Centre for Writing.
Gitanjali Patel is a literary translator and social researcher. She also is the co-founder of Shadow Heroes, an organisation which harnesses the power of literary translation to teach critical thinking and create inclusive classrooms at secondary schools.
Miia Laine is a Helsinki-based audio producer, arts worker and educator. Coming from a social science and ethnomusicology background, her work in radio and the wider arts seeks to critically examine and redress existing power dynamics. While living in the UK, Miia’s participation in an oral history project made a deep impression on her method of working and instilled a great love for interviews and listening to people. Her work often focuses on music, migration, gender and race, but also features processes of emotional growth.
Dr Kavita Bhanot is ECR Leverhulme Fellow at Leicester University. Her fiction, non-fiction and academic work has been published, performed and broadcast widely, including the landmark essay ‘Decolonise not Diversify’ and her Tedx Talk ‘Reading, Writing and Self-Interrogation’. Kavita founded the Literature Must Fall Collective – her monograph exploring these ideas will be published in 2022 by Pluto Press. She also works as an editor and mentor. Her first novel came third in the 2018 SI Leeds Literary Prize.
Yovanka Paquete Perdigão is a Bissau-Guinean writer. Yovanka’s writing has been deeply inspired by her early experiences of conflict. When she returned to Guinea-Bissau after more than twenty years, she became interested in researching Portuguese colonial legacies in Lusophone Africa, discovering the impact across oceans and in her own family. Yovanka has since worked to champion Lusophone African stories as an editor, translator, and formerly as a podcaster on the Not Another Book Podcast. Yovanka’s writing has been featured in several platforms such as the Johannesburg Review of Books, AFREADA, etc and shortlisted for Penguin 2016 WriteNow, The Spread the Word’s City of Stories competition and the Miles Morland 2018/19 scholarship.
Nariman Youssef is a Cairo-born literary translator based in London. She manages an Arabic translation team part-time at the British Library and has led and curated translation workshops with Shadow Heroes, Shubbak Festival and Africa Writes. Her recent translations include Mo(a)t: Stories from Arabic (UEAP, 2021), Inaam Kachachi’s The American Granddaughter (new edition, Interlink, 2020), Donia Kamal’s Cigarette No. 7 (Hoopoe, 2018), and contributions to publications like The Common, Arab Lit Quarterly, Words Without Borders. Nariman holds a master’s degree in Translation Studies from the University of Edinburgh.