Public lectures and events

Translation Theory Debate: Another Culture War?

Sat, 22 Jun 2019 1:30 PM

Literary translation is a complex art. What counts as a “good” translation? Is it possible to translate 4th-century Chinese poetry into modern English? Is it possible to translate poetry at all? And does a good translator interpret just the words or also the culture that pervades them? Debate about how to translate between languages and cultures has become surprisingly politicized and acrimonious, and courses on the theory of translation now proliferate at universities. Explore this fascinating topic with an author who translates and writes in two languages. 

This free event is co-sponsored by the Liberal Arts and 55+ Program and the SFU Seniors Lifelong Learners Society.

Date(s): Sat, Jun 22, 1:30-3 p.m.

Location: Room 1900, SFU Vancouver (Harbour Centre)

Admission: Seats for Free Forums are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the talk. While we cannot guarantee or reserve seats, there will be 200 available.

Related topic(s): Liberal Arts


  • Marina Sonkina

    Marina Sonkina's initiation into the world of academia happened at the age of 18, as a freshman at the Moscow State University. She was enjoying a seminar on 18th-century Russian cultural history, presented by the famous scholar Uri Lotman.

    As a PhD student of this professor, Sonkina made a discovery: "All aspects of human culture are deeply interconnected," she said, "in spite of a seeming fragmentation of the disciplines of those who study culture." She went on to study philosophy, psychology, film, theatre, folklore and visual arts.

    In 1987, Sonkina emigrated to Canada from the USSR, and became a producer and broadcaster at CBC Radio. Later, she taught at Dawson College in Montreal, followed by UBC and SFU. When she is not teaching or studying, she offers lessons in yoga and dance tango, and writes.

    She writes and publishes both in English and Russian. She has produced several collections of short fiction, including Tractorina’s Stories, Runic Alphabet, Comrade Stalin's Baby Tooth (2012), Lucia's Eyes and Other Stories (2014). Her most recent book Expulsion was chosen as a 'Staff Pick' by BC BookWorld in Spring 2016. Her books are available on and at local bookstores.



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