10th Language and Culture Week: Promoting cultural diversity and multicultural understanding

February 23, 2017

The tenth Language and Culture Week at AUBG once again celebrated
the international community of the University. The Department of Arts, Languages and Literature organizes the event annually, with a different topic each year. The event took place on Feb. 14 -16 at the Balkanski Academic Center and the ABF Student Center.

The beginning of the event was marked by a movie night. The movie played was “The Terminal” directed by Steven Spielberg. The film combines comedy and drama to lay out the relationships between national identity, social identity and different cultural experiences.

“We chose to show ‘The Terminal’ because the movie sheds light on the intimate relationship between language and culture. The main character of the movie, Viktor Navorski speaks Krakozhian, a non-existent Slavic language and comes from a non-existent East European country,” said Sabina Wien, adjunct language instructor at AUBG. As he is forced to reside in an American airport for some time, he has to get accustomed to the ‘Western’ culture and lifestyle, and is quite successful in that endeavor, Wien explained.

The second evening was a discussion about “Words and Beyond: Translators’ Views on Literary Texts.” The guests were four renown translators that dedicate their time to bring foreign literature works to the Bulgarian readers and vice versa. First guest was Angela Rodel, a professional literary translator, a musician, and a musicologist. Some of her translations are Milen Ruskov’s “Thrown into Nature,” Zachary Karabashliev’s “18% Gray,” and Angel Igov’s “A Short Tale of Shame.”

 Aleko Dyankov was another guest, a journalist with work experience at the Bulgarian National Radio and Bulgarian National Television. A few of his works are the Bulgarian translations of “Der Feind” (“The Enemy”) by Erich Maria Remarque, and “Meine wundervolle Buchhandlung” (“My Wonderful Bookstore”) by Petra Hartlieb. The third guest was Krassimir Kavaldzhiev, a Bulgarian translator from French, English, Russian and other European languages. He translated poetic works of Maurice Maeterlinck and authors such as Georges Rodenbach, André-Marcel Adamek, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, etc. Among the guests was AUBG’s own professor Vladimir Levchev, a Bulgarian poet, writer and journalist. He translated T.S. Eliot (Selected Poems), Allen Ginsberg (Hawl), and Sarah Kane (Collected Plays), etc.

The translators shared their opinion on the challenges a translator faces, the characteristics of a successful translation, tools that a translator uses and who evaluates a translator’s work. “If you want to do the text justice, your own language level has to be very high, but I think it is the best job in the world, it is fun,” said Rodel.

“It was awesome to hear professionals share their experience about translating. “I always thought it was so easy to translate novels, poems. I changed my mind after hearing how much work goes behind a translation. I think it is a difficult job, but it brings a lot of pleasure,” shared AUBG student Ana Coroban.

The week was closed with a culture map workshop that had participants from the high school’s in Blagoevgrad and AUBG students. The format of the workshop was to create a graphic representation of a country that shows emblematic elements and symbols of its culture. The focus was on four countries: Germany, France, Spain and Bulgaria. The participants had to form teams and brainstorm. For the content, the participants could use text, images and the time constraint was up to 30 minutes. All culture maps were exposed after the workshop and people voted for their favorite.

“First of all, I am grateful to the organizing team. I think they really succeeded in bringing many people and providing with all the essential tools. The whole environment led us to enjoy the time and socialize with others. When I saw the finished maps, I was impressed by beautiful handmade works. I think it’s really one of those AUBG things that build our culture here,” said Udval Batsaikhan, one of the winners.

Story and photos by Greta Talmaci

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