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Found in Translation

Translation expert Peter Constantine consults a Greek dictionary from the collection of the Department of Literatures, Cultures, & Languages. Constantine says translation opens up the windows and doors to the world. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Translation expert Peter Constantine consults a Greek dictionary from the collection of the Department of Literatures, Cultures, & Languages. Constantine says translation opens up the windows and doors to the world. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Peter Constantine is an accomplished literary translator and editor and director of the Literary Translation program in the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

Growing up in Greece, he spoke German, English, and Greek at home, and has learned a number of other languages, including Russian, since then. One of his best known works is a translation of short stories by Anton Chekhov, The Undiscovered Chekhov, for which he won the National Translation Award. Other award-winning translations include the complete works of Russian author Isaac Babel, which received the Koret Jewish Literature Award and a National Jewish Book Award citation, and Six Early Stories by German writer Thomas Mann, for which he won the PEN Translation Prize. He has also translated works by Rousseau, Machiavelli, Tolstoy, Gogol, and Voltaire, co-edited two anthologies of Greek poetry, and heads World Poetry Books, a UConn-based press.

When we translate literary works from other languages, he says, “we open up our horizons. We have an amazing literature here in America, but there is also an amazing literature in France, there’s an amazing literature in Bosnia, in Greece, to name a few countries. So translation does open up the windows and doors to the world.”

As he works to establish a major, minor, and concentration in literary translation at UConn, Constantine sat down with Julie Bartucca from the UConn 360 podcast to talk about his background and the importance of literary translation today.

For the full podcast and other episodes, visit uconn.edu/uconn360-podcast.

By Julie (Stagis) Bartucca | Story courtesy of UConn Today


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