All posts by Christian Griffiths

Zine Fair 2020


Festival of the Photocopier
Feb 8th & 9th, 2020

Sticky festival 2020

TransCollaborate was the proud owner of a zine stall at the 2020 Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair. As you may know, we pride ourselves on our regular literary output, much of which takes the form of handmade books, or “zines”. Some of these are relatively modest, fashioned from a single A4 page, while others are complex print jobs featuring innovative layouts and colour illustrations.

We showcased some of our recent literary materials, including recent editions of our Bordertown series, which collects collaborative translations from multiple contributors, and our new Afterlives zines, which collect radically reworked versions of existing poems.



We also offered a space for passers-by to collaborate on jigsaw poetry, a favourite activity from a recent event. This encouraged engagement and produced some interesting lines! The Melbourne zine community is very active and diverse. We enjoyed being a part of it and we look forward to sharing more zines in the future.



An Afternoon of Collaborative Translation

“An Afternoon of Collaborative Translation”
At the Wheeler Centre, 7th December 2019

Thanks to all who made our last event of 2019 such a success.

In our warm up exercise, we did some “jigsaw” poetry, taking the English translations of two contributor poems (one by Vasile Baghiu and the other by Koraly Dimitriadis), and cutting them into individual words. Each group was given the individual words and was invited to create a new poetic work from these fragments.


We were able to produce several poems in this way, some quite brief (see pictured), others more substantial in length. You can download some of the results below!

Then, our wonderfully diverse group of collaborators produced four independent translations of two Romanian poems.bb861501-9098-4cf8-931a-eb36508af1b8

Nicolae Coande – Tălpi mici 

Cristina Savin: “This is a love poem. There are a few challenges in the text but overall it is not too difficult. The poet, Nicolae Coande, is well known in Romania. The poem is suitable for people with a solid understanding and knowledge of poetry.

Costel Stancu – untitled

Cristina Savin: “This is a delightful poem full of surprises (with no title!). It is a playful little story that would lend itself quite well to children’s poetry. It is about a young boy who has an imaginary friend; there is an unexpected, gentle twist at the end.


All these translations will appear in future publications, and will be made available to all TransCollaborate members.

If you are interested in joining as a member, follow this link here.

Bordertown #3: Sipyeon

TransCollaborate is proud to announce the third issue of our Bordertown zine/journal series, titled Sipyeon (a transliteration of the Korean word 시편, which means “psalter”, or more simply “book of poems”).Sipyeon Cover

As with our previous issues, Sipyeon contains a diverse range of creative translations and transcultural pieces, including a section of Romanian literature, featuring the poetry of Vasile Baghiu, among others, and two poems by Melbourne poet Koraly Dimitriadis, in parallel English and Cypriot. May O’Kane contributes an original transcultural piece, and we feature a partial translation of a work of Korean children’s literature, a story by Joong Ae So about a primary school teacher who is always crying in front of her class!

Also included in Sipyeon, is a range of visual art by Jaime Dorner and the Instagram water-colorist @one.thwing. We also have some Ci by Su Dong Po, the great poet of the Song Dynasty, translated by members of the Marco Polo translation group.

Copies of Sipyeon are free to all TransCollaborate members. If you are interested in joining, follow this link.

Special Journal Issue: Collaborative Translation

mtm: A Translation Journal. Special issue: Collaborative Translation. Volume 10, 2018.  Edited by Jessica Griffiths and Christian Griffiths. ISSN 2645-0312.

This special issue is a significant accomplishment for TransCollaborate, as it represents our largest research output to date, and moreover provides an important resource for future work in the field of collaborative translation.  We hope that it will provide a touchstone for all of those within our network who wish to explore and experiment with our collaborative methodologies.

Selected articles and translations

  1. Gramling, David, Christian Griffiths and Jessica Griffiths. “Seven stadia long: On the disorderly social sojourn of collaborative translation.”
  2. Griffiths, Jessica and Harry Williams. “History studies and collaborative translation: the role of disciplinary expertise.”
  3. Luisa Geisler. “The Fold”. Trans. Lorrayne Caetano Mayer and Alice Whitmore.
  4. Zuleta, Estanislao. “In praise of the difficult”. Trans.  Alvaro Eduardo Sanchez Amador and Basil Cahusac de Caux.
  5. Rothe, Hans. “German Shakespeare: Hans Rothe on his translations” An English translation from the German by Hans Rothe (1966). Trans.  Christian Griffiths and Madeleine Bieg.

All TransCollaborate members receive a PDF copy of the special issue. To become a member, join here.

Chinese Classroom Translations

In 2019, EAL students of the Australian Technical Management College in Melbourne, Australia recently undertook collaborative translation with their trainer. The source texts are taken from a Chinese textbook featuring texts of 300+ words on a range of general topics. 

Translation 1


The first text to be translated covered the story of the historic satellite link between Shanghai and Toronto, Canada on the night of the new millennium, January 1st 2001.

You can find the translation here.

Translation 2


The next text was a magazine article about the Chinese lottery. The article investigates people’s expectations of winning the lottery, and what they would intend if they actually won.

You can find the translation here.

Translation 3


This text is an anecdote told by a father about attending a parent-teacher interview at his son’s school. From a cultural perspective, it is interesting to note that the father’s irreverent response to the rather strict attitude of the school skewers the many of the myths we may hold about parental expectations of student academic performance.

The translation itself was highly accurate in meaning, but it departed significantly from the semantic structure of the original text. This could be a sign that the collaboration has grown in confidence from its first attempts.

You can find the translation here.

Method and outcomes

The collaborations take place between a class of pre-intermediate students, all Chinese speakers, and their trainer, a native-English speaker. The translations take just under 90 minutes. The process is usually energetic, and it clearly activates the students, who otherwise may struggle to express themselves in the classroom. The translation offers multiple opportunities to teach and illustrate grammar and vocabulary. It also offers opportunities for cultural exchange, where collaborators can describe cultural practices of different times and places.

The feedback from these activities is positive, with all participants requesting copies of the completed translations, and with some asking if the exercise could be repeated in future classes.

This collaboration has confirmed or supported the following insights for TransCollaborate:

  • That collaborations with pre-intermediate students are possible, if the source text is sufficiently simple in grammar and vocabulary.
  • That collaborative translation is an excellent classroom activity for monolingual learner groups, as it productively integrates a range of language skills.
  • That an experienced target collaborator can collaboratively translate a text of around 300-400 words in a 90-minute session.