PEN International (https://pen-international NULL.org/) has just issued its annual Case List of transgressions against the freedom of expression. Affirming the idea that ‘Literature knows no frontiers and must remain common currency among people in spite of political or international upheavals’ and the principle of ‘unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations’, PEN International has identified five patterns of oppression in 2017. One of these patterns contains references to translators:

‘the placing of outrageous charges on those who dissent, and using the power of national security laws in courts to browbeat critics. Nowhere is that more visible than in Turkey, where writers, translators, journalists, and editors have been facing ridiculous charges which unconvincingly attempt to link up reporting of facts and expressing dissenting opinion with undertaking propaganda for extremist organisations. PEN International has attended several of their trials and has grave concerns over due process in all cases it has observed.’

The Case List makes one further reference to translators. This is the case of Natalie Mallo, who has translated (and directed) a play on transgender issues in Brazil:

‘UK playwright Jo Clifford’s play ‘The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven’ that re-imagines Jesus as a transgender woman, has been banned from being shown in parts of Brazil. Its director & translator, Natalia Mallo, has received death threats from the conservative right. This is just one of a growing number of recent attacks on artistic freedom in Brazil.’

The full case list can be downloaded here. (https://pen-international NULL.org/who-we-are/case-lists)

CEATL is working on a charter of principles regarding literary translators and violations of freedom of speech and human rights.

 

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