There’s more to translation than it seems, and the role of translators in bridging the gap between language and culture was discussed at length during the UP Institute of Creative Writing’s (ICW) Saling Panitik: Ikalawang Bienvenido Lumbera Seminar-Palihan sa Pagsasalin, held from October 8 to 10 at The Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City.
Sixty-three teachers, students, and book editors from different regions joined the three-day seminar-workshop, attending lectures and participating in exercises held by the panelists.
National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera attended the opening and the graduation ceremony of the seminar-workshop.
“Ang pagsasalin ay hindi lamang kahusayan sa paggamit ng isang partikular na wika. Ito ay isang pagtatangka na ang kultura ng ibang bansa ay maidala natin sa Pilipinas at gawing bahagi ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas,” National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera said at the opening of the seminar-workshop, reiterating the importance of translating relevant texts in enriching Philippine literature.
This was further discussed by lectures from the panelists and guest lecturers. Rowena Festin delivered a lecture on translating canonical texts, drawing from her experience of translating The Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, a process that involved learning the history and context of the original text.
A total of 63 delegates from different regions in the Philippines attended the seminar-workshop.
Esteemed translator Wennielyn Fajilan delved into the specifics of translating children’s texts, while Beverly Wico Siy talked about the work that went into Pukiusap, her translation of Liv Strömquist’s Kunskapens frukt.
Serving as one of the panelists, writer, researcher, and translator Rosario Torres-Yu shared some of her experiences in Japan and how living there helped her understand the culture better. She talked about how the time she’d spent there helped her with translating Tetsuko Kuroyanagi’s Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window.
The participants were able to participate in various exercises to apply what they have learned over the course of the three-day seminar-workshop.
Shifting the focus back into the creative process that goes into translation, Aurora Batnag–who translated Alice in Wonderland into Filipino–delivered a lecture on how best to translate poetry.
Joining the seminar-workshop are guest lecturers Gonzalo Campoamor II, Jem Javier, and Ramon Guillermo.
As part of the 2019 Saling Panitik program, the delegates and panelists visited the Book Museum in Marikina and Ateneo Art Gallery in Quezon City. They also received free books from the Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, and the University of the Philippines Press.
Aside from providing free books for the participants, the Sentro ng Wikang Filipino also sold books at a discounted price during the event.
Headed by seminar-workshop director Eugene Evasco, this year’s Saling Panitik ended with a short graduation ceremony attended by Lumbera.
The free seminar-workshop is held every other year by the UP ICW. It aims to help establish a more standardized basis for literary translation, as well as to choose which works in both English and Filipino most merit such translation, study, and inclusion in our school textbooks.