The 4W International Women Collective Translation Project convenes scholars from across disciplines and institutions as part of a collaborative translation praxis. It aims to make texts and related ideas that are only available in Spanish also accessible in English – and vice versa – to benefit writers and readers around the world.
In 2018 project leaders began hosting regular workshops under the name, “Living Poetry: Women in Translation (WIT).” Together, readers, translators, and interpreters translate literary texts – particularly poetry – by writers from the Americas and Spain. Collaborators represent a range of interests and expertise, including translation studies, cultural anthropology, global education, public health, cancer biology, and gender studies. Readings and discussions of selected texts bring forth the unique linguistic experiences, knowledges, and cultural backgrounds that each collaborator adds to the praxis – from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panamá, Nicaragua, England, France, Spain, Poland, and the United States. The project also engages a diverse group of graduate and undergraduate students from academic units such as the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. In 2019, WIT received support from the Center for Humanities Borghesi-Mellon Workshops Program to continue and grow this work.
WIT workshops explore subjects related to women and gender, health and wellbeing, urban and ecological thinking, and urban and non-urban sustainability. Readings and discussions of selected texts aim to illuminate the text’s multiple perspectives and question the cultural experiences they enable and the contextual and symbolic meanings they convey. Each of these elements are required for the creation of innovative versions of the texts either in English or Spanish. Workshops also explore research on the concept of translation from a theoretical perspective, as well methods for comparing and contrasting previous translations in order to create new, transformative versions.
This project is also part of an ongoing collaboration between UW-Madison and the Museum of Environmental Sciences (MCA) at the University of Guadalajara. Under the guidance of renowned research ecologist Eduardo Santana-Castellón, MCA founded the City and Nature José Emilio Pacheco Literary Award. WIT collaborators have translated texts by many of the award winners as part of an anthology to be published by Meninas Cartoneras, Spain’s most historic publishing house centered on cultural diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and gender equity. Click here to view the 4W WIT bilingual anthology.