Translation workshop


May 30 – June 8, 2020

General Outline

We are delighted and honored to open a call for the 2nd International Translation Workshop, LitTransformer 2020, that will take place in Lviv, Ukraine, in May 30 – June 8,  2020.

Fostering collaboration among translators representing various UNESCO Cities of Literature and presencing the shaping power of translation in these city spaces, this year the workshop program will be structured around the theme Translating the City and revolve around a central conceptual question:

How might translation function as an inter-space, i.e. a creative

regenerative commons, which fosters genuine dialogue across

diverse languages and cultures that coexist in our cities?

Toward this aim, the workshop sets out to create an engaging cross-cultural environment where participants are asked to interact creatively by translating poetry authored by the poets from represented cities of literature. Apart from the lectures and group sessions, the participants will be given time and space to work in pairs and across three languages: their two native languages, and English, the bridge language between them. Each participant will hence enact two roles at once – the capable guide into their own urban imaginary (in their native language) and the novice traveler into the foreign one (in their partner’s language) – in recreating poetry into each native language. Journeying through different  urban literary spaces, moving between familiarity and estrangement and interrogating their own subjectivities, the participants will experience the languages vividly and reflectively.
The participants will work under the professional guidance of Aron Aji, the Director of MFA in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa, the largest program of its kind in the United States, and they will benefit from a supportive and stimulating environment provided by the translation faculty members at Ivan Franko National University, who will be committed to individualized mentoring and sharing their expertise in translation.Daily discussions focused on the work in progress will enable the participants to explore the spectrum of problems each poem has posed, as well as the broader issues of literary translation practice. The program will also offer a multitude of opportunities for networking with writers, publishers, agents and one another.
The synergy of participants’ introspections, discussions and creative translation
practices, experienced in synchrony, will also have an external unfolding dimension, since they will be emplaced into the multicultural diachrony of Lviv asa city of translation, and invited to reflect on the after-images of once cosmopolitan city. Staging the world of translation through the lens of one translational city – through its shifting identities, language frictions and failed encounters – will bring into sharper focus the question about how the languages and cultures are bridged, and what happens on the bridges constructed via translation: on what terms the connections are played out, what itineraries and means are chosen.

It was a real eye-opener. I was taken out of my comfort zone and made to find creative solutions to problems I sometimes didn’t fully comprehend. It was hard work but very satisfying.

LitTransformer2020 hopes to generate a fascinating number of new poetry translations that would unveil novel images of the cities, provide empowering experience for the participants and a productive network of contacts for further cooperation and partnerships.
Also planned is a multilingual publication of translations produced during the workshop, which will manifest the role of cultural diversity and linguistic hospitality in this world achieved by and through translation.Undoubtedly, the general ambition of the workshop is to promote translation in the urban spaces, to make it more visible and better understood, as this most vital artery of international literary circulation and cross-cultural understanding.


The literary translation workshop LitTransformer 2020 is open to two groups:

  • active advanced translators and university professors and lecturers in translation with relevant practical experience, as well as
  • young emerging literary translators, professionals or recent graduates of university programs in translation or translation studies who will enormously benefit from the collaboration with advanced translators.

The eligible applicants should meet the following language requirements:

  • a mother tongue or near-native competence of the language other than English
  • advanced or proficient level of English.

Accommodation and Travel

“Lviv – UNESCO City of Literature” office will cover the accommodation and board, as well as light refreshments with coffee during the workshop breaks. The transportation costs should be arranged on your own. The organization committee can provide you with information or advice on the best travel itineraries to Lviv. The organizers will also arrange an interesting cultural program for the participants to give an authentic taste of Lviv.

It was a very insightful experience and I gained a lot from taking part. I think it’s easy for translators to get stuck in their ways, so I am tremendously grateful for LitTransformer to shake up my practice. Working together so closely with such a diverse group of translators made me look at translation from many new angles. 


LitTransformer2020 will host up to two participants, one advanced and one emerging literary translator, from each UNESCO City of Literature. A completed application should consist of the following materials:
1. Application form (please, find it below)
2. Letter ofmotivation
3. CurriculumVitae
4. The materials chosen for translation
a) three pages of poetry (1 1/2 space, typed in Word format);
b) no more than three poems total; preferably by one contemporary poet and from your
City of Literature;
c) interlinear draft translations of the poems into English;
d) a briefbio (one page maximum) of the poet that addresses the main characteristics
of his/her poetic style and aesthetics.

Deadline for applications is March 20, 2020

Please, send your application set to this email address

In case of any questions, please email the organization committee at