Inspired by live translation slams that proved to be audience favorites at the Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival, and again at PEN World Voices, PEN’s online Translation Slam aims to showcase the art of translation by juxtaposing in a public forum two “competing” translations of a single work.
For the inaugural installment, they asked translators to test their linguistic mettle on 暮色, a poem by Chinese writer Xi Chuan.
At the live slams, audience members were invited to discuss the choices made by each of the translators and the resulting shifts of emphasis in the translated text. Readers of the online slam are encouraged to participate in the discussion by leaving comments on the site. PEN encourages you to cheer for your favorite translation, compare the two, talk about the poem.