Creative translations

Wai-te-ata Press facilitates translation projects that spark creative conversations between disciplines and cultures.

Wai-te-ata Press showcases the breadth of creative translation and the ways in which it can be brought about. Its translators, publications and events engage in creative conversations that are cross-disciplinary and multi-ethnic in a world where cultural borderlands are often indistinct.

Translators

These featured individuals are all translators in their own right, some are linguistic translators and some are translators of the visual. Some of these names are also associated with the Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Languages and Culture, as students and course co-ordinators. Wai-te-ata Press has worked with these translators to engage with projects and events involving multiple languages in one space and to promote New Zealand literature in translation. The Press aims to bring cultures and people together to celebrate cultural diversity and create opportunities for creative forms of dialogue.

Translators we have worked with include:

Hone Apanui

Hone has contributed translations to Wai-te-ata Press events and publications since 2011. He has an expansive portfolio of work in Te Reo Māori including writing, editing, translation and advisory consultancy across many organisations and fields. He has been involved in Māori education and publishing since 1980. He has written several books for schools in Te Reo, and edited much of the early Māori Curriculum for schools. He is currently a judge for the Education Book Awards.

Eleanora Bello

Eleanora is a PhD candidate in the School of Languages and Cultures. She has been involved with Wai-te-ata Press in events such as Transpositions: National Poetry Day (2016) and Invisible Cities (2015). In 2017, in collaboration with Francesca Benocci, she translated Janet Frame’s Storms will tell into Italian (Parleranno le tempeste) published by Gabriele Capelli Editore. Her thesis is called The Unconscious of the Asylum. Mental Illness and Psychiatric Institutions in Italian Literary Writings (1950-2000).

Francesca Benocci

Francesca is a PhD candidate in Translation Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, working on An Annotated Anthology of New Zealand Women Poets in Italian Translation. In 2017, she translated Best New Zealand Poems (2015) Italian Edition, a bilingual volume comprised of 25 authors’ works in both English and Italian. In her translator's note for the edition, she underlines her “holistic vision of the process of translation where text and context are inseparably intertwined in a continuum.” Francesca also translated – in collaboration with Eleanora Bello – Storms will tell by Janet Frame into Italian (Parleranno le tempeste) for Gabriele Capelli Editore. She is Head Editor of Atelier International, the child publication of Italian literary journal Atelier, which features translations of literature from around the world.

Claudia Bernardi

Claudia joined the Italian programme of the School of Languages and Cultures in 2000. Claudia is currently teaching undergraduate and Honours courses, as well as supervising postgraduate students. She oversaw Francesca Benocci’s Italian translation of Best New Zealand Poems 2015 (Italian Edition) along with Sally Hill and Marco Sonzogni. Her PhD from the University of Bath was titled The “Pulp” Generation Between Avant-Garde and Tradition(s): Legacies, Gender and Youth Culture in the Narrative of Silvia Ballestra, Rossana Campo and Isabella Santacroce.

Ashley Brown

Ashley is a freelance artist and designer from Wellington who loves design, illustration, photography, embroidery, horticulture, and sculpture. Ashley illustrated Lucky Dave, a Wai-te-ata Press zine sponsored by the Goethe Institut, featuring a creative English translation by Nora Guzu after The Brothers Grimm’s tale Hans im Glück. She is also interested in branching out into pottery, 2D animation, and film.

Sally Hill

Associate Professor Sally (Sarah Patricia) Hill is the Head of the School of Languages and Cultures and a Senior Lecturer in the Italian Programme. In addition, she is associated with the Critical Diagnosis Network and with the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation. Sally has been involved with numerous projects associated with Wai-te-ata Press, most recently the translation of Best New Zealand Poems 2015 (Italian Edition). She has supervised PhD theses on topics including postcolonial translation and film adaptation, genre studies, representations of mental illness, Italian women writers, and ecocriticism.

Lloyd Jones

Lloyd is an award-winning fiction writer. He provided a poetic translation of Rose Auslander’s poem Verwundert in collaboration with Wai-te-ata Press and the Goethe Institut. His bestselling novel Mister Pip won several illustrious prizes and awards, and it was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize. Lloyd’s writing is known to subvert the norms of fiction, and his narratives are challenging, original and in some cases controversial.

Sarah Laing

Sarah is a fiction writer and graphic artist. She was a creator-in-residence during the Wai-te-ata Press event Entrenchments (2015), and in the same year she illustrated a zine called Shema: Primo Levi after the poetry of the Italian Jewish writer Primo Levi, marking the observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. She is the author of a graphic memoir, two novels and a collection of short stories, she has also illustrated children’s books and designed and co-edited an anthology of Aotearoa/New Zealand women’s comics.

Liang Yujing

Liang Yujing is a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington working on a thesis entitled The making of minjian: Yi Sha’s poetics and poetry activities. Yujing translated Best New Zealand Poems (2014) Chinese Edition, a bilingual volume comprised of 25 authors’ works in both English and Chinese. In his translator's note, he acknowledges the ever-present Wellington wind: “the sound of wind mixed with that of poetry in my mind, becoming inseparable, and gradually turned into something like a symphony. Every poem blew like the wind […] Thank the wind that gave me more inspirations than an English-Chinese dictionary.” His work has appeared in many publications including Wasafiri, Poetry Salzburg Review, SAND Journal, Modern Poetry in Translation, Westerly, Los Angeles Review, Boston Review and Poetry New Zealand.

Andy Leleisi’uao

Andy is a self-described “Kamoan” (Kiwi-Samoan) Auckland-based artist with a Masters in Fine Arts with Honours. His work is characterised by it’s own visual language and multi-layered universes. Andy’s pieces, like translation, work with narrative and plurality to create his worlds. He has illustrated an excerpt from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, which was translated from French into Samoan. The edition was called Progress 1962 – 2012 and was made with Wai-te-ata Press and the Embassy of France to commemorate Samoan Independence and the 150th anniversary of Les Misérables. In 2017, Andy won the Paramount Wallace Art Award. The award includes a six-month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York.

Glenna Matcham

Glenna Matcham and her husband Ian run Jumbletree, a design and paper craft service based in Lower Hutt in Wellington. Glenna has contributed to numerous Wai-te-ata Press projects including but not limited to The Colour of Water and 7.34 by Paul Thomson, The World in a Box: Diplomatic Edition and the Wai-te-ata Companion to Poetry (2017), which was shortlisted for the Australian Manly Artists’ Books Awards. In 2011, she won a Print-in-Print gold award for her innovative paper engineering.

Barbara McGilvray

Barbara is an Australian interpreter, university lecturer, and freelance translator of Italian who works across film, television and books. She was commissioned to translate Stefano Pirandello’s Un Padre Ci Vuole/Everyone Needs a Father by Wai-te-ata Press and the Istituto Italiano Di Cultura in Sydney, Australia. In 2016, she received an Order of Australia for her services to the community. Her next project is creating the subtitles for a documentary being filmed in Asti, Italy by the Sydney filmmaker, Trevor Graham.

Courtney Sina Meredith

Courtney is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician. With Wai-te-ata Press, she has contributed a creative English translation for Jestem Julia: Halina Poswiatowska 1935 – 1967, a zine commemorating International Women’s Day in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland. Her play Rushing Dolls (2010) won a number of awards and was published by Playmarket in 2012. She launched her first book of poetry, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick (Beatnik), at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair and her debut book of short stories Tail of the Taniwha was launched in 2016 to critical acclaim.

Christiane Mortelier

Christiane is a Wellington-based scholar, translator and French language tutor. She published her translation and edition of Leconte de Lisle's poem Le Dernier des Maourys with Wai-te-ata Press in 1998. Christiane was made an officer of the Palmes Académiques by the French government for services to education and to the French language. She has illustrated work on Jules Verne and New Zealand.

Ant Sang

Ant has become one of New Zealand’s most well-known and respected graphic novelists. Brought up in New Zealand and Hong Kong, he grew up on a diet of comics, cartoons, sci-fi and kung fu films. In the mid-90s, inspired by the alternative comics scene, he began writing, drawing and self-publishing mini-comics. Ant provided illustrations for Letter from the Desert 11 November 1942 in creative conversation with Wai-te-ata Press and the Embassy of Israel.

Antonella Sarti Evans

Antonella is a Wellington-based translator of Italian with an interest in New Zealand literature. She has studied at Università di Pisa and Sapienza Università di Roma. Most recently her Italian translation of Potiki by Patricia Grace was launched at Wai-te-ata Press along with a celebration of Grace’s 80th birthday. She was one of the first Italian translators of New Zealand literature in the country.

Marco Sonzogni

Marco is a regular collaborator with Wai-te-ata Press and has translated numerous works in conjunction with its events and publications. He teaches a number of translation and language courses in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University. Marco was the Director of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation from 2011–2015. Most recently, Marco oversaw the translation of Best New Zealand Poems 2015 (Italian Edition) with Wai-te-ata Press. He is a widely published academic, editor, poet and literary translator, and he has given lecturers and seminars at various universities and institutions across the world.

Charlotte Simmonds

Charlotte Simmonds is best known for her work in Wellington theatre. Her collection of poetry The World's Fastest Flower was published by Victoria University Press in 2008. Charlotte has contributed to Wai-te-ata Press’ The Zine Collection with Hebrew to English translations for Letter from the Letter from the Desert 11 November 1942 and for The Locomotive in conversation with the Embassy of Israel.

Harry Thomas

Harry is the author of Some Complicity: Poems and Translations (Un-Gyve Books), and he has edited several books, including Montale in English (Penguin UK) and Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy (Penguin UK). Later this year he will bring out The Truth of Two: Selected Translations. In partnership with Wai-te-ata Press and Marco Sonzogni and illustrator Sarah Laing, Harry translated Shema: Primo Levi for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. His poems, stories, translations from several languages, essays and reviews have appeared in many magazines, and he has taught at numerous universities.

Publications

Translation is the main vehicle through which literary works and their embodied ideas, cultures and traditions travel the world. Wai-te-ata Press produces multimodal publications in translation that creatively speak to the question, “What is it to translate?” Our publications engage in a creative conversation that is both cross-disciplinary and multi-ethnic for a globalised world whose borderlands are constantly being redefined. For New Zealand authors, translation transposes words and images into new contexts, generating innovative works that become creative ambassadors for Aotearoa.

Recent Wai-te-ata Press publications that engage in acts of creative translation include:

The Zine Collection: Inspired by a Lithuanian chocolate box and a pop-up gallery, this box of zines gathers together several pieces featuring various forms of creative translation. The collection features New Zealand artists Sarah Laing, Ant Sang, Ashley Brown and Barbara Strathdee as well as translation specialists Hone Apanui, Nora Guzu, Bill Manhire and Courtney Sina Meredith.

Best New Zealand Poems 2014 (Chinese Edition), translated by Liang Yujing.
Inspiration for this first volume in The NZCLT Collection came from “the sound of wind mixed with that of poetry in my mind, becoming inseparable, and gradually turned into something like a symphony. Every poem blew like the wind […] Thank the wind that gave me more inspirations than an English-Chinese dictionary.”

Best New Zealand Poems 2015 (Italian Edition), translated by Francesca Benocci. In his review of the original IIML online collection, Thom Sullivan observed that “there’s the sense that some of the most elusive and interesting poetry is going on between the poems, not just within them.” This is mirrored in the words of the translator: “My choices have been guided by a holistic vision of the process of translation where text and context are inseparably intertwined in a continuum.”

Everyone Needs a Father/Un Padre Ci Vuole by Stefano Pirandello, translated by Barbara McGilvray.
Editors Sarah Zappulla Muscarà and Enzo Zappulla describe this play as “A sharp and parodic comedy that dwells on the theme of fatherhood as a mission[,] the slender but strong bond of losing a parent, a sense of duty, and extreme self-sacrifice.” On the occasion of the 150th Pirandello anniversary, this volume, co-sponsored by Wai-te-ata Press and the Istituto Italiano Di Cultura in Sydney, Australia, is the first English translation of this little-known work.

Erebus Voices by Bill Manhire/Nga Reo O Erebus by Hone Apanui.
This poem was written by Bill Manhire to mark the 25th anniversary of the Erebus disaster in which 257 people perished. A commemorative ceremony in 2004 was held at Scott Base. During the service, this poem was read by Sir Edmund Hillary who lost his close friend Peter Mulgrew in the crash.

View these and more innovative publications in our online showcase. Most publications are available to order.

Events

Wai-te-ata Press reaches out to translators, authors and illustrators as well as local and diplomatic communities to engage in conversations about books, translation and culture. The Press collaborates with students, dignitaries, academics, cultural representatives and the general public to engage in conversation, celebrate new endeavors and get new translations out into the world.

Recent events include (please follow the links for more information):

The World in a Box

In 2014, Wai-te-ata Press launched The World in a Box: The Diplomatic Edition (2012-2014) which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Press, established in 1962. This boxed set is composed of 15 individually designed and handbound poetry keepsakes by writers from around the world in their original language, translated into English and Māori by local and international translators. The poems were selected in conversation with local ambassadors and high commissioners from Argentina, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Samoa, Spain, Switzerland and Vietnam. Translators included Hone Apanui, Edith Grossman, Michael Hofmann, John Balaban, and Edwina Palmer. Some works also include a creative translation by prominent New Zealand authors such as Bill Manhire, Vincent O’Sullivan, Lloyd Jones, Murray Edmond and Michael Harlowe as well as illustrations by Jane Joseph, Bob London and Andy Leleisi’uao.

Entrenchments 2015

Entrenchments 2015 was a month-long creative conversation focused on translating conflict into art based at Wai-te-ata Press. It featured Canadian and New Zealand illustrators Julian Peters and Sarah Laing responding to WWI war diaries, letters, and poetry as well as contemporary works by Poet Laureate Vincent O’Sullivan, Witi Ihimaera, and Patricia Grace. Prejudice, antagonism, territorial disputes and war often result from a profound lack of understanding and respect for differences in language, traditions, religion, faith, and politics. Entrenchments 2015 aimed to promote cultural understanding and global peace through radical acts of cross-disciplinary, multi-ethnic creative translation.

Invisible Cities (2015)

Invisible Cities was held at Wai-te-ata press as a celebration of Italo Calvino on the 30th anniversary of his death, sponsored by the Embassy of Italy in Wellington and Victoria University of Wellington. For this celebration, six people were invited to each deliver a ten-minute personal reflection on Italo Calvino. Daniel K. Brown presented his short film Invisible Cities: A Wellington Architect’s Perspective. The event organisers, Eleonora Bello and Francesca Benocci, both PhD students and translators in the Italian Programme in the School of Languages and Cultures, choreographed the evening across all disciplines and languages.

MoWo

MoWo (MOving WOrds) is Wai-te-ata Press’s annual translation in New Zealand secondary schools competition, co-sponsored by the Victoria University  of Wellington New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation and in partnership with the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters. Reflecting New Zealand’s multi-ethnic and multilingual society, MOving WOrds aims to celebrate literature, languages, and cultures in secondary schools and to inspire and reward excellence in literary translation by secondary level students. The competition has been running for three consecutive years.

Celebrating New Zealand in Translation

As part of New Zealand's first Cultural Sustainability Symposium in August 2017, Wai-te-ata Press launched Portraits of Absence by Fabiano Alborghetti, translated by Marco Sonzogni and Ross Woods for Guernica Editions. Audience members read the English translations in tandem with Alborghetti’s italian. Fahim Afarinasadi from the School of Languages and Culutres read his own impromptu Persian translation. Mia Lecomte from Le Monde Diplomatique describes the book as “An epic diary, in which individual voices are legitimized and expanded by the multilingual chorus surrounding the issue of migration, and personal geographies escape their own boundaries to form a single common map, that of humanity in movement.”

In October 2017, the Press hosted the NZ launch of the Italian translation of Patricia Grace’s Potiki along with a celebration of her 80th birthday. Translator Antonella Sarti Evans and Patricia Grace shared insights into the translation process in a creative conversation with Dr Sydney Shep. Topics discussed included how, when and why glossaries, idioms and idiosyncrasies should be translated for local and international audiences.

Cultural Sustainability Symposium

Most recently, Wai-te-ata Press participated in the Cultural Sustainability Symposium in August of 2017. Dr Sydney Shep facilitated a collective think-tank on the concept of Cultural Sustainability (CS) in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The group reached a working definition of CS as "the recognition and celebration of difference and diversity, working towards understanding our place on this planet, through transformative translation and storytelling." Later in the evening, Wai-te-ata Press held an event with Sustainability Creators-in-Residence Sheyne Tuffery and Barbara Strathdee, who showed their work, followed by a panel featuring Ellen Van Neerven, Pip Adam and Fumio Obata, facilitated by Mark Cubey.

Tradurre è un bacio – The Kiss of Translation

In April 2017, The English/Italian bilingual edition of Best New Zealand Poems 2015 was launched at Wai-te-ata Press. The evening featured a panel discussion with special guest Nicola Gardini, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, University of Oxford. Professor Gardini summed up the importance of translation when he said that it “is always gain, never loss. It is an exploration.” He responded passionately to questions about Latin as the ghost that haunts Italy, the physicality of the ‘kiss’ of translation and the creativity required for the process.

Cortos & Quartos

Settimana della lingua italiana nel mondo / Italian Language Week was celebrated in style with a festival of short films and readings from Italian writers and filmmakers at Wai-te-ata Press. Mamma mia (2013), La fiera dei morti/The deadmen’s fair (2004), La danza del piccolo ragno/Dance of the little spider (2012), Pircantaturi/The debt collector (2015) and The Age of Rust (2014) were interspersed with readings from Un Padre Ci Vuole / Everybody Needs a Father (Stefano Pirandello), Best New Zealand Poems 2015 (Italian Edition), Parleranno le tempeste/Storms will tell (Janet Frame), Inferno (Dante) and Portraits of Absence (Fabiano Alborghetti).