In February 2014, British Council in partnership with the British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) and Oxford University Press Pakistan held a Literary Translation Master Class in Karachi. 20 early to mid-career translators worked on consensus translation of 2 Urdu short stories into English by reputed Urdu authors, Hasan Manzar and Asad Mohamad Khan.
The participants were facilitated by the authors in residence, two experienced local translators, and BCLT directors. They explored various elements of the text: complexities of word choice, variations of connotations in changing cultural and historical contexts and even punctuation. The Master Class culminated in a panel discussion at the Karachi Literature Festival, organized by OUP Pakistan, which further highlighted aspects of literary translation.
The workshops were very well received. Zainab Younus, lecturer at Fatima Jinnah Women University and a participant of the Literary Translation Master Class, wrote: “It made me realise what the building blocks of different languages are and how far the gap can or cannot be bridged contextually – that sometimes it’s not about single words or sentences but rather the whole work and that compromise is not a flaw.”
The workshops will be expanded into longer, intensive modules this year.