“Translating Cube” – a meeting of the TransStar Europa network in Krakow

On 16 January 2014 a meeting of the TransStar Europa network will be held in Krakow under the title: “Translating Cube – 6 Sides of European Literature and Translation”. Trans Star Europa is an EU project focusing on the promotion of translation and literature. It was launched in January 2013 by the University of Tubingen and nine other European institutions. It aims to raise the importance of less widely used European languages and less integrated cultures in the public awareness.



During the meeting in Krakow, students and young professionals from the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine, Germany and Poland will take part in exclusive workshops, training sessions, lectures and debates. Some of the events will be open to the public.





16-18 January 2013


• 16 January (Thursday)


  • 7 p.m. Read – “Where Europe starts” A meetings with Yoko Tawada

Moderated by Paweł Zarychta (Krakow)

Venue: Vila Decius


In her essay entitled “Where Europe starts”, Yoko Tawada embarks on a journey from Japan to the West, to Europe. In her thoughts and reflections she combines stories from her childhood with Siberian fairy-tales, Russian wilderness and insight into spaces which change through the tales she explores. During the meeting, Yoko Tawada, along with her translators – Ines Hudobec from Croatia, Magdalena Lewandowska from Poland and Olha Krawczuk from Ukraine, will talk about experiencing Europe and Japan, as well as about how ideas, languages and texts emerge from cultures and how they merge into them.


• 17 January (Friday)


  • 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Different sides to translation

Venue: Goethe Institute in Krakow



  • Replaced – “Translation into big and small languages. Asymmetries” Ryszard Wojnakowski


Time: 3 p.m.


Despite various attempts, the animators of literature, and especially literary translators, have little influence on the policies of publishing houses. The most important element for publishers is the profitable sale of a literary success or booming business related to a particular book. Publishing houses attach less and less importance to the quality of the books offered to readers. In his lecture, Ryszard Wojnakowski will talk about the translators’ view of the problem and about the role of small languages in this respect.



  • Deceived – “Thing that do not exist elsewhere”


Moderated by Radovan Charvát (Prague)

Time: 4 p.m.


Each culture has some typical characteristic phenomena, which are unknown to other cultures, such as the names of colours, moods, places, fashion trends, holiday celebrations or remembrance customs, which are only found in that particular cultural sphere. The translators participating in the TransStar Europa project will attempt to identify such patterns in the cultures of various countries, including Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine and decide how to deal with such phenomena in the translation process.



  • Sought and found – “Live” Translation


Moderated by Jurko Prochasko (Lviv), Dorota Stroińska (Berlin)

Time: 4 p.m.


Jurko Prochasko (Lviv), author of literary translations from German into Ukrainian and Dorota Stroińska (Berlin), translator of German literature into Polish, along with the audience will try their hand at “live” translation of “Elective Affinities” by Goethe, demonstrating at the same time how the translation process unfolds from the reading of the first sentence, through looking for the right phrases, to completing a full translated piece.


  • Played – Collecting for everyone or the things we think are untranslatable.

Moderated by Tanja Žigon (Ljubljana)


All day long each participant of the event will be able to write confusing words, ambiguous phrases or even untranslatable notions typical of each national language on a big board in Krakow’s Goethe Institute.



  • 7 p.m. Poetry for Pop Music Fans

Ulrike Almut Sandig (Berlin) and Marlen Pelny (Berlin)

Venue: Alchemia



Ulrike Almut Sandig will rhythmically and resonantly read out her poems from the volumes “Dickicht” and “Streumen”. Marlen Pelny will accompany her playing the guitar and with her phenomenal voice. This collaboration can only result in an exceptional performance combining traditional lyrics and poetry set to music, dedicated to pop fans who claim that poetry is not their thing…



• 18 January (Saturday)


Time: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Read – Contemporary German Prose – New in Translation

Participants of the “TransStar Europa” project read out their translations.

Moderated by Sława Lisiecka (Łódź)

Venue: Czuły Barbarzyńca Cafe


Lukas Laski will read out excerpts from “Die Geschichte meiner Einschätzungen am Anfang des dritten Jahrtausends” by Peter Licht. Whether it is money, love, the sun or the sofa – in Peter Licht’s works every word begins to shine, as simple objects appear to be something different from what we are accustomed to and their original meaning is replaced by new, encoded and unobvious senses.


Zofia Sucharska reads our fragments of “Der erste Schnitt” from a collection of short stories by Svenja Leiber. The stories of Jula – a policeman’s daughter – and other young people from Svenja Leiber’s short stories talk about constant aimless wandering between the unclear hope of growing up and the stifling discomfort of adult life which is disappointing and depressing.


Karolina Matuszewska reads out fragments of “Nicht ist wie” by Zsuzsanna Gahse. Leaving the well-known Hungarian reality behind her, Rosa arrives in Germany – a world completely unknown to her. Her new adventure starts with learning language clichés and seeking out new coffee shops.


Magdalena Stefańska reads out fragments of “Aller Tage Abend” by Jenny Erpenbeck. “What would happen if…?” is the question posed constantly by Jenny Erpenbeck in her novel, whose plot encompasses the entire 20th century. What are the consequences of the death of somebody you love for those they leave behind? What else could have happened?


7 p.m. Cut – Reading and Discussion


  • A meeting with Sylwia Chutnik and her translators – Magda Włostowska and Zofia Sucharska

Moderated by Olaf Kühl (Berlin)

Venue: Bunker of Art Gallery


The main character of Chutnik’s novel “Dzidzia” was born without limbs, with hydrocephaly and is “suffering from epilepsy, universal palsy and dandruff”. Half a century earlier, her grandmother Stefania Mutter denounced two Poles to the Nazis. Both had fled Warsaw right after the uprising failed. The “trunk baby” becomes a medium in the novel, providing a connection with the war reality. Chutnik’s book triggered a barrage of questions about national complexes, Polish Catholicism and anti-Semitism and rekindled a popular debate on the patriarchal social order. The author herself, along with two translators of her work into German – Magdalena Włostowska and Zofia Sucharska – will talk about their meeting with Dzidzia.


Detailed information about the TransStar Europa project is available from www.transstar-europa.com.


See also