Welcome to Free Word. Interested in exploring the political and cultural power of words? Join us at an upcoming event or read about the themes we explore.

Project: Translation At Free Word

Our translation programme, supported by the Gulbenkian Foundation, is part of our commitment to invigorating translation:  celebrating our country’s linguistic diversity, encouraging more readers to engage with literature from around the world, demolishing cultural barriers and supporting the development of professional translators. In a world increasingly dominated by English as the lingua franca, we want everyone to to know the pleasures and benefits of foreign languages, and to appreciate the wealth of literature the world has to offer.

Working closely with the British Centre for Literary Translation and many of our other residents and associates, Free Word runs a lively and substantial programme of events, activities and projects with our residents and associates to promote and explore the world of translation. Through our Global Translation Initiative we co-organise the annual symposium International Translation Day: an opportunity for translators, students, publishers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and reviewers to gather and debate significant issues and developments within the sector, to discuss challenges, and to celebrate success. We also appoint two translators-in-residence each year: throughout this winter and spring our new recruits Ollie Brock and Canan Marasligil will be working to find new approaches to translation through a curated series of live and online events and discussions, focusing on the cultural and political impacts of literary translation in French, Turkish and Spanish. Alongside this we host numerous events exploring international language and culture, including the African Book Festival, the Literary Translation Cafe at the London Book Fair, and our international investigation of education Writers’ Bloc.

Through projects like Arvon’s Mother Tongues and English PEN’s Brave New Words, and with promotional grants and translation funds, our residents and associates work both locally and internationally to break down cultural barriers and promote dialogue between multilingual communities.

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