Translation Circle

The Translation Circle serves as a space where the JHU community can gather to take and workshop translation. This working group typically meets biweekly, with the meeting focusing on one or two translation projects shared by members. We emphasize the hands-on workshopping of translations, but broader questions frequently come into discussion. Occasionally, Translation Circle members might present completed projects and discuss the process, challenges, and joys of their work. Each semester we invite a guest translator to campus to give a talk and/or workshop.

For more info, contact co-organizers Brad Harmon ([email protected]) and Eleni Theodoropoulos ([email protected]).

Translation Circle Events 2022–23

Balancing Act: Aaron Robertson in Conversation with Eleni Theodoropoulos (April 18, 2023)

Poster for "Balancing Act: Making a Career out of Translating, Writing, and Editing Today" with Aaron Robertson, in conversation with Eleni Theodoropoulus (with biographies).

Balancing Act

Aaron Robertson, an acclaimed translator from Italian, in conversation with Eleni Theodoropoulos about how he navigates a triad career in translating, writing, and editing.

Tuesday, April 18th

Aaron Robertson is a translator from Italian, a writer, and an editor at Spiegel & Grau. He has written for The New York Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy, n+1, The Point, Literary Hub (where he was formerly an editor), and elsewhere. His translation of Igiaba Scego’s novel Beyond Babylon was shortlisted for the 2020 PEN Translation Prize and the Best Translated Book Award (BTBA) among others. He has been the recipient of a PEN/HEIM grant (2018) and a National Endowment of the Arts grant (2021) and he is a board member of the American Literary Translators Association. Robertson’s nonfiction debut, THE BLACK UTOPIANS, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in 2023. 

Eleni Theodoropoulos is a PhD student in comparative thought and literature at Johns Hopkins University and a co-organizer of the Translation Circle. She translates from Modern Greek and was previously a fellow at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf Translator’s Conference for her translation-in-progress of Insect Alphabet by Dimitra Kolliakou. Two chapters from Insect Alphabet are forthcoming in ANMLY and Quarterly West.

The Same River Twice: Saskia Vogel in Conversation with Brad Harmon (November 9, 2022)

Poster of Saskia Vogel (woman with dark hair and coral necklace) beside bookcover of "Aednan" with Northern Lights as background.

The Same River Twice

Saskia Vogel, translator and poet, in conversation with Brad Harmon on the practice of translation (a reading and discussion).

Wednesday, Nov. 9th

Saskia Vogel has translated over 15 books from Swedish into English, which have received global acclaim and been nominated for the most prestigious literary awards, including the PEN Translation Award and the Dublin Literary Award. She released her debut novel Permission in 2019 (Coach House) and she is Princeton University’s Fall 2022 Translator in Residence, where she is completing her translation of Linnea Axelsson’s 760-page, August Prize-winning novel in verse, Ædnan (Knopf, 2024).

Brad Harmon is a PhD student in German at Johns Hopkins and co-organizer of JHU’s Translation Circle. He translates from German and Swedish and is a 2022 ALTA Emerging Translator Fellow. His translations have appeared in many literary journals including Poetry, Astra, Cincinnati Review, and Chicago Review. He translated Mans Mosesson’s acclaimed biography Tim: The Official Biography of Avicii (Sphere/Mobius 2022).