NZCLT Annual Lecture series

Read about the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation's Annual Lecture series.

2019 - The Future of Film and Video Localisation - A Symposium on Subtitling': Professor Jorge Diaz-Cintas

Professor Jorge Diaz-Cintas, University College London, London

‘The Future of Film and Video Localisation – A Symposium on Subtitling’, to a full audience at Wellington City Gallery’s Adam Auditorium. At the symposium, Professor Jorge Diaz-Cintas from University College London, the world’s leading expert on audio-visual translation and accessibility, delivered the 2019 NZCLT Annual Lecture. In a lively presentation packed with new data and engaging case studies, Prof Diaz-Cintas spoke about the linguistic, cultural and technical challenges underscoring subtitling and dubbing as forms of multimodal communication and inter-semiotic translation. The lecture was followed by the screening of two subtitled short films by Miya Wang (The Other Side of the World) and Huanhuan Zhang (How to Break Out of Prison), two recent MFA graduates from Victoria University of Wellington’s Miramar Creative Centre. The symposium was rounded up with a panel discussion between Prof Diaz-Cintas and the two filmmakers, moderated by NZCLT Co-director Dr Luo Hui.

The symposium highlighted new directions in teaching and research at Victoria University of Wellington, which launched the Miramar Creative Centre in 2018 and the Master of Intercultural Communication and Applied Translation (MICAT) programme in 2019. Professor Sarah Leggott, Dean of the Faculty of Humanity and Social Sciences, H.E. Fernando Curcio Ruigómez, Ambassador of Spain to New Zealand, and Rebecca Needham, Director of the Confucius institute, spoke at the symposium and emphasised the importance of enabling cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary dialogue between academic, creative and civic communities in New Zealand’s capital city.

Whilst in Wellington, Professor Jorge Diaz-Cintas also gave an interview on the ‘rise of subtitles’ on Radio New Zealand. (

Hosted by The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation/ Te Tumu Whakawhiti Tuhinga o Aotearoa, Confucius Insititute, the Embassy of Spain and the School of Languages and Cultures.

2017 - Translating the work of 19th-Century French Writer 'Emile Zola': Discussion with Emeritus Professor Brian Nelson

Emeritus Professor Brian Nelson, Monash University, Australia

Professor Nelson, who has translated the work of great 19th-Century novelists for the Oxford University World Classics series, including Zola and Marcel Proust, has spent much of his career promoting literary translation as an invaluable academic pursuit, fully deserving of greater recognition. His lively and entertaining presentation about challenges facing translators of Zola's novels, he focused on the importance of identifying and endeavouring to accurately reproduce tone, style and register. Professor Nelson vividly illustrated these features with detailed discussion and specific examples from his work on Zola.

Hosted by The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation/ Te Tumu Whakawhiti Tuhinga o Aotearoa and the School of Languages and Cultures.

2016 - Interpreting ‘The Bacchae’ by Euripides in Māori: A Discussion with Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal

Charles Royal, in conversation with Simon Perris, Senior Lecturer in Classics, Victoria University of Wellington

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal is a composer, researcher and teacher and a passionate advocate for ‘indigenous creativity’. Through composing and performing music, through researching and teaching iwi histories and traditions and indigenous knowledge, Charles pursues indigenous creativity and innovation. His iwi are Marutūahu, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngā Puhi. Charles is currently Director, Ngā Manu Atarau (Communities, Repatriation, Sector Development) at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.

Hosted by The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation/ Te Tumu Whakawhiti Tuhinga o Aotearoa and the School of Languages and Cultures.

2015 - 'Collapsing the Divide: Chinese-English Translation, Transliteration, and Interlanguage'

Professor Jonathan Stalling, University of Oklahoma and executive editor of Chinese Literature Today

In this lecture, Professor Stalling moves through a series of Chinese-English experiments, which push the boundaries of what we conceive as “the possible” in inter-linguistic communication. Over 20 years ago, Stalling transformed English into Classical Chinese to translate and later create Classical Chinese poetry in English. He later moved in the opposite direction and composed an opera, Yingelishi (staged in China in 2010) that transformed Chinese characters into a libretto about learning English and traveling to America as a speaker of “Sinophonic English.” Finally, over the last 4 years, Stalling has created an entirely new way of teaching English through a patented Chinese character-based learning software platform (called SinoEnglish) that combines classical Chinese phonetics with algorithmic and 3D technologies to create a Chinese orthography for English with greater fidelity than the Romanized scripts (yes, characters work better than letters as a phonetic script). In short, this lecture is about how writing systems are no longer walls between languages—they are bridges.

Listen to the Radio New Zealand recording of the lecture.

2014 - 'Sex and Other Disappearing Acts: Translating Sexuality in Korean Fiction into English'

Shin Kyung-sook's I'll Be Right There (Other Press, 2014), selected as a "must-read book of 2014" by the Huffington Post; Our Happy Time by the bestselling novelist Gong Ji-young (Short Books, 2014); and Cheolsu: A Good Man by Bae Suah, the first Korean author to be selected by Amazon’s new translation imprint Amazon Crossing (forthcoming 2015). For the female protagonists of these novels, sex and sexuality are integral to, but eclipsed from, their narratives. Korean readers are trusted to fill in the blanks, but what happens when the same text is translated for an Anglophone audience? Is the supposed omission of sex scenes from Korean women’s fiction symptomatic of sexual double standards, or does this tangible absence hold other meanings? This lecture will explore the challenges of translating sex and sexuality in Korean literature for commercial presses while navigating issues of ambiguity, ellipsis, and disconnection.

Sora Kim-Russell is a literary translator based in Seoul. Her recent publications include Shin Kyung-sook’s I’ll Be Right There and Gong Ji-young’s Our Happy Time. Her translations of Bae Suah’s Cheolsu: A Good Man and Hwang Sok-yong’s Princess Bari are forthcoming in 2015.

She was the grand prize winner of the 6th Korean Literature Translation Contest for New Translators and the Korea Times 36th Modern Literature Translation Award in poetry. Her work has appeared in Words Without Borders, The American Reader, Drunken Boat, Pebble Lake Review, and other publications.

Sora teaches Korean-to-English translation at Ewha Womans University and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea.

This event is being held by The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation and the Asian Studies Programme in partnership with the Literature Translation Institute of Korea and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

2014 - 'A Malay Knight Speaks the White Man’s Tongue'

Muhammad Haji Salleh on translating the self and one’s literary tradition. Delivered by Professor Harry Aveling.

Muhammad Haji Salleh (born 1942) is a major Malay poet and literary scholar. Originally educated in English and writing his early poetry in that language, he made a decision to write in Malay during his twenties. His poetry exists in English, Malay and Malay translations of poems first published in English. His scholarship has focused on exploring the aesthetics of the classical Malay literary tradition, including the pantun, and he has recently published a translation of the epic, the Hikayat Hang Tuah.
The lecture will discuss the principles that support Muhammad's translations and ask whether there are differences between the ways he translates his own work and that of the Malay literary tradition.

Harry Aveling is a Professor in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University. He specialises in Indonesian and Malay Literature, and Translation Studies.
A widely published academic and award-winning literary translator, he is a Fellow of the Stockholm Collegium of World Literary History, Stockholm University, a former President of AALITRA, the Australian Association for Literary Translation (2005–2008), and currently Immediate Past President of the Malaysia and Singapore Society, a regional subgroup of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.

This event is being held by the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation and the Asian Studies Programme in partnership with the High Commission of Malaysia in Wellington.

2014 - 'Hearing the Voice' with Julie Rose

Julie Rose is a world-renowned translator. Her acclaimed translations include Alexandre Dumas' The Knight of the Maison-Rouge and Racine’s Phedre as well as works by the French philosopher Paul Virilio, Jacques Ranciere, Chantal Thomas and others. She has translated essays written by authors including Vaclav Havel, Chantal Thomas on Proust, Jean-Louis Cohen, Hubert Damisch on architecture, Pierre Bourdieu on art and Yannis Tsiomis on high tech architecture.

In 2008 she delivered her English translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. This version of the book – published by Random House (Modern Library) – is the first full original unabridged English translation of the book. Julie Rose is a recipient of the PEN Translation Prize (NSW Premier’s Prize and Medallion for translation).

Hosted by the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, the Embassy of France and the Alliance Française.

Listen to 'Translating the masterpieces' on Radio New Zealand National.

Past Annual Lectures

2013 - 'The Secret Life of Dead Languages and the Role of Translation' was delivered by Diego Marani (Ferrara, Italy, 1959), a bestselling author, translator, essayist, columnist and blogger.

2012 - 'Six or Seven Beginnings' was delivered by Michael Hofmann, award-winning poet, translator and critic.

2011 - David Norton, Professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington, presented as part of the worldwide celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

2010 - Part of the first International Conference on Literary Translation,'Talking Past Each Other, Translating for Each Other' consisted of three keynote addresses delivered by Paulo Britto, Professor of English at the Pontificia Universidade Católica (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil); Lawrence Venuti, Professor of English at Temple University (Philadelphia, USA); and by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University (New York, USA).

2009 - Delivered by Brian Boyd, University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Auckland (NZ).

2008 - The Inaugural Annual Lecture was delivered by Breon Mitchell, Professor of Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature at Indiana University (Bloomington, USA).

Other lectures

2015 - Two special events with Jonathan Galassi

  • Translating Nobel Laureates: Jonathan Galassi on Eugenio Montale
  • Translating the Muse: A Creative Conversation with Jonathan Galassi

Jonathan Galassi is the president and publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, the author of three collections of poetry and most recently Muse: A Novel (2015), as well as acclaimed translations of the Italian poets Eugenio Montale and Giacomo Leopardi. A former Guggenheim Fellow and poetry editor of The Paris Review, he also writes for The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and other publications.

Hosted by The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, the School of Languages and Cultures, and Wai-te-ata Press in association with the Embassy of the United States of America and the Embassy of Italy and in partnership with the Brisbane Writers Festival and the Melbourne Writers Festival.

2009 - Kim Sun-Woo

In September and October 2009, under an agreement with the Korea Literature Translation Institute, the Centre welcomed Korean writer-in-residence, Kim Sun-Woo, to work on the translation of some of her poetry. Her books of poems include What If My Tongue Refuses to be Shut Inside My Mouth (2000), I Fall Asleep Under the Peach Blossoms (2003) and Who Sleeps Inside Me? (2007). She has also written essays, which have been collected in When the Moon Under the Water Unlocked (2002), Objects According to Kim Sun-Woo (2005), Sugar-like Kisses Entering My Mouth (2007), and Who Has Laid Inside This Rice Bowl Besides Us? (2007). She is also the author of a book of folk tales for the grown-ups titled Princess Bari (2003). She has received the Contemporary Literature Prize, the Chun Sang-byung Poetry Prize, and other literary awards.

Other distinguished national and international guests of the NZCLT include Bill Manhire, John Milton and Qui Xiaolong.