All posts by jesslouisegriffiths

TransCollaborate and MITN: Open multilingual workshop

TransCollaborate and Monash University’s MITN (Migration, Identity and Translation Network) are excited to invite you to a new Zoom-based workshop in which small groups will translate excerpts of Italian fiction into different languages.

Required: at least conversational level English and one language other than English

You will be working with Italian speakers so you don’t need to know any Italian!

Via Zoom, Thursday October 15, 2-4pm

Email us at for more information

Or register below for the Zoom link – limited places available!

Translating Pandemic Poetry

On September 20th 2020, with many of us well into our second wave and perhaps our third or fourth iteration of restrictions, a group of 15 collaborators met on Zoom to translate poetry together.

We were five groups across three countries, each with one or two native Romanian Source collaborators and one or two native English Target collaborators. Our Source collaborators had each facilitated a workshop group at our 2019 Afternoon of Collaborative Translation, so it was great to welcome them all back! Our Target collaborators were largely new to the process, and it was equally exciting to share the experience with a new audience.

Our source text was a poem by Romanian poet Vasile Baghiu, who we were fortunate enough to have join us on the day. The poem was “EcuaÅĢie Cu Multe Necunoscute”, translated by one group as “Equation with multiple unknown variables”. It reflects on the pandemic through the lens of a Romanian seeing out a compulsory period of isolation in order to holiday in Balcic.

The five translations we ended up with are the result of extended conversations about what it means to be a tourist in 2020, what we should or would be doing with our lives this year and the extent to which the researchers working feverishly for a treatment have sacrificed their lives. The translations all have points of commonality but they are each inevitably unique in their approach to certain images and ideas proposed by the original. The variation in the final line was particularly striking to see.

There were calls for them to be performed as spoken poetry, and we may well work toward this new initiative. In the meantime, watch this space for the poems – the collaborators are currently finalising them and we look forward to sharing them with you all.

Upcoming Opportunities on Zoom

While the challenges of 2020 are weighing on us all, we are doing our best to push forward. At TransCollaborate, we have taken up the invitation to “Zoom”.

Listed below are upcoming opportunities to improve your language skills, create new literary texts, meet new people and experience our translation process. All you need is an internet connection!

If you or someone you know may be interested in one of the projects below – please email us at

Are you: a native English speaker learning French?
Join our small-group translation of a travel memoir from English into French. Work in French with a native French speaker.

Are you: a native or advanced speaker of Japanese, Chinese or French?
Join our workshop translation of Italian fiction into a range of languages. English will be the language of communication.

Are you: an artist looking for opportunities to engage with other languages?
Join our newest project: translating theatre texts from Spanish, Italian and Romanian into English and sharing them through online readings.

Looking forward to meeting you online!
zoom image
[Illustration by 123RF]

A Collaboration with Marco Polo

TransCollaborate’s activities this year have brought us into contact with Melbourne’s many Chinese communities, including both migrant and international-student cohorts. We have found many ways to connect with these communities through collaborative translation.

One of our closest partners, the Marco Polo project, has been facilitating weekly language exchange workshops since 2011. These workshops match Chinese-English bilinguals, including international students and native English learners of Chinese, to translate prose texts from Chinese into English. We have been given the opportunity to run our own Marco Polo workshops, applying our own unique methodology.

Following in the spirit of our previous Emerging Writers Festival workshop, our Marco Polo workshops translate the “Ci” of Su Dong Po. Our workshops involve the participation of several “target collaborators” with little-to-no experience with Chinese, but who have experience in translating creative texts in various contexts. Each target collaborator facilitates a small group to translate a Ci, marshaling input from collaborators with different language backgrounds and creative skills.

One group’s translation can be found here.

TransCollaborate Inc: now a not-for-profit organisation!

On April 13 2018, TransCollaborate incorporated to become a not-for-profit organisation. Based in Melbourne, Australia, we will be offering a range of opportunities for you to get involved in collaborative translation activities.  These will include Melbourne-based events, as well as online programs for our members based overseas. If you are keen to sign up for membership, get in touch!

We are excited to be starting this new stage of development, and we will update the website as soon as possible with details of our new committee and our opening initiatives. Watch this space…