TRANSLATE! – A Symposium on Language and Language Transfer in International Productions

April 4, 2019, 10:30 am to 4:30 pm
Podewil, Klosterstrasse 68, 10179 Berlin

International collaboration within the independent performing arts has changed and developed in recent years. Networks and funding programs have been newly created or have been adapted and dealing with issues of representation and diversity has especially raised awareness of the important of collaborations.

Working with language and language transfer in this process takes on a critical significance. A central task seems to be that the artistic process and its presentation are dealt with at eye level in terms of language and translation.
Using examples from artistic productions as well as touring perspectives, the symposium TRANSLATE! examines some of the questions resulting from international productions and teams: which language(s) are spoken and understood by whom? How can subtitling and other forms of language transfer ensure as differentiated an experience as possible? What translation options are actually available and what kind of technologic innovations exist? In what manner can translation become an artistic component of the production?

Exchange and inspiration for the participants will be in the focus of the schedule of programming, realized in the form of short presentations, open rounds of conversation and panel discussions. At the same, participants will have the opportunity to make contact with colleagues who work in related fields.

The complete schedule of programming will be published in the middle of March on our homepage.

We look forward to an exciting symposium. Please send us an informal registration by March 28, 2019 in the form of an email to: fachtag2019(at)

Schedule of Events

10:00 am: Registration and Coffee

10:30 am: Greeting by Daniel Brunet (Board Member of LAFT Berlin)

Impulse Speech for Discussion 1: Dr. Yvonne Griesel (Drama Panorama)
Impulse Speech for Discussion 2: Andrea Zagorski (ITI, Szenenwechsel)
Followed by parallel discussion

Discussion 1: Opportunities and Challenges of Translation in a Production and Touring Context
Dealing with the opportunities and challenges of language translation has grown in importance within the field of the performing arts in recent years. In addition to festivals and in touring contexts, subtitling, voiceovers and interpreting are increasingly used at performance venues. The panelists will deal with the question of translation, the different tools and methods of language transmission, various forms of collaboration between translators and production teams as well as technical options.
With Yvonne Griesel (Drama Panorama), Ilja Fontaine (Panthea) and Elke Weber (Managing Director of She She Pop)

Discussion 2: Who Speaks? On the Role of Language From an Intercultural Perspective
Intercultural aspects increasingly come into focus in the context of multilingualism and translation in international collaborations. An awareness of the importance of analyzing existing power relationships and racist structures has arisen from working with questions of representation and diversity. The right to one’s own language and access to foreign languages seems essential in order to overcome traditional culturally imperialistic ways of thinking and seeing within artistic processes and in exchange with the audience.
With Andrea Zagorski (ITI, Szenenwechsel), Stefan Bläske (NT Gent Stadstheater), Henning Bochert (Drama Panorama) and Natascha Anahita Nassir-Shahnian (Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung)

12:30 pm: Lunch Break and Small Snack

1:15 pm:
Impulse Speech for Discussion 3: Monika Gintersdorfer (Gintersdorfer/Klaßen)
Impulse Speech for Discussion 4: Michaela Casper and Wille Felix Zante (Possible World)
Followed by parallel discussion

Discussion 3: Live Translation, Multilingualism and Not Understanding as Aesthetic Principles
Especially in (international) productions where the spoken text primarily first exists in the moment of performance, tools extending beyond those of the classic translation methods are called for. Approaches used by the groups Gintersdorfer/Klaßen and Talking Straight will be introduced as concise examples for work with live translation and multilingualism and not understanding will be introduced as aesthetic principles. In doing so, questions of translation and transfer become the topic and become formative for the artistic work. The potential of language for understanding per se is called into question in the performative act.
With Monika Gintersdorfer (Gintersdorfer/Klaßen), Alicia Augustin and Houaïda (Talking Straight)

Discussion 4: Sign Language and Spoken Language in Interlingual Productions – Inclusive Approaches for a Deaf and Hearing Audience
Questions of translation do not only arise in the area of international collaboration. The group Possible World, who works with sign language, spoken language and body language, develops helpful approaches for inclusive performative formats. The goal of the group is to establish an international network of deaf, hearing impaired and hearing artists. Over the course of the discussion, exemplary approaches, methods and questions of dealing with sign language and deafness will be presented.
With Michaela Casper and Wille Felix Zante (Possible World)

3:15 pm: Coffee and Cake Break

3:30 pm: Final Panel Discussion: How Can Multilingual Productions and International Collaborations Be Successful? Conclusions, Difficulties and Opportunities
To conclude the symposium, the panel discussion will bring together conclusions from all of the panel discussions. We will pose ourselves the overarching question of how we can exchange in as differentiated a manner as possible in multilingual, international and translingual production and performance contexts and how, in doing so, we can be successful in eliminating the asymmetries of power that are inherent in a language transfer.
With Stefan Bläske (NT Gent Stadstheater), Petr Dlouhy (Nová sít, Prague) and Barbora Schnelle (Drama Panorama)

4:30 pm: Aperitif and informal exchange (in the garden if the weather is nice)

The final panel discussion will take place in English; all other formats will take place in German and feature interpretation into English. Sign language interpreters will be offered for the impulse speech of Possible World, discussion 4 and the closing discussion.