Eran's Blog

Extreme Translation @ Binyamin Gallery

Following the workshop given by Ilan Manouach, another important guest has paid the gallery a visit. This time it was Dr. Adriana X. Jacobs who gave an amazing talk about Extreme Translation. The talk lasted for about an hour, but then Q&A took an additional hour, where the audience just didn’t want her to step down of the stage.


Adriana X. Jacobs is Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature at the University of Oxford. She has published widely on Hebrew and Israeli poetry and translation and is currently completing a book titled Strange Cocktail: Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry. Her translations have appeared in various publications, including Metamorphoses, Gulf Coast, Poetry International, The Ilanot Review and in the collection Women’s Hebrew Poetry on American Shores: Poems by Anne Kleiman and Annabelle Farmelant (2016, Wayne State UP). She is a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant recipient for her translation of Vaan Nguyen’s The Truffle Eye.


Extreme Translation was a talk about alternative strategies for translation. Across centuries, translators of poetry have shown us that translation can be a generative and creative act, arguably synonymous with the act of writing itself. But what is also at stake, particularly for poets who translate, is a desire, indeed the necessity, to push their own work to and beyond extremes, whether these be aesthetic, political, geographic and linguistic. The talk featured some extreme spaces and strategies of translation through readings of texts by contemporary U.S. poet translators. She also reflected on her own work as a translator of contemporary Hebrew poetry.


Translation is a fascinating process that is capable of hosting various techniques, or algorithms. The talk has given the Israeli audience a perspective which is hardly ever seen here, making a lot of observations about the relationship between original and translation. For me it was an invitation to explore new possibilities in this sense, especially regarding the reversibility of translation, and the roles of origin and translation in an unoriginal work.