Manchester in Translation 2021

16 Feb 2021 - 11.00AM

Manchester in Translation returns as an online conference in February 2021!

This February, Comma Press will host a series of free online workshops and talks offering advice and insight into the world of translation. Manchester in Translation will be an opportunity for budding translators – or those with a passion for languages – in the North of England to develop practical skills for literary translation in particular, learn about the life of the translator and discover ways of getting themselves published.


The online conference will run over three days from the 16th to the 18th of February and will include a keynote from award-winning translator of Bengali-English, Arunava Sinha, two panel events and three workshops focusing on literary translation from Urdu, Punjabi and Spanish into English. The keynote and panel events will all run from 11am-12pm each day, and the workshops will run from 2-4.30pm each afternoon. The keynote and panel events will be available to playback after the live events.

The talks and panels will be open to all. The workshops are open to UK residents only and will be capped at 15 places, subject to suitability of the attendee and priority will be given to residents of Greater Manchester. 



Award-winning translator Arunava Sinha reflects on his career as a translator and the joys and perils of linguistic multiplicity. This talk will be an opportunity to find out more about what makes a good translation and the tools you’ll need to break into the industry. 


Arunava Sinha is the translator of over sixty books from Bengali into English. Winner of the Crossword translation award, for both Sankar’s Chowringhee and Anita Agnihotri’s Seventeen, his translation of Chowringhee was also shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. His translation for Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay's The Yogini has won an English PEN award. He was born and grew up in Kolkata, and lives and writes in New Delhi.


16th February, 11am, live from the Comma Press YouTube channel. Book now.


Panel 1: How the publisher will work with you

Industry professionals discuss the relationship between a translator and their publisher, and what the translator can expect once they sign a deal: who they'll work with, what's expected of them, what a timeline to publication looks like and problems (and solutions) that can occur along the way.


Nichola Smalley is a translator and lover of Swedish and Norwegian literature and publicist at And Other Stories. Her translations range from Jogo Bonito by Henrik Brandão Jönsson (Yellow Jersey Press), a Swedish book about Brazilian football, to the latest novel by Norwegian superstar Jostein Gaarder, An Unreliable Man (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).


Sophie Hughes is a literary critic and translator from Spanish to English, known for her translations of writers such as Laia Jufresa and and José Revueltas. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Alia Trabucco Zerán’s The Remainder.


Paul Engles has worked in the editorial salt mines (phrase courtesy of Boris Dralyuk) at MacLehose Press since 2010. Before that he was a bookseller at John Sandoe Books in London.


17th February, 11am, live from the Comma Press YouTube channel. Book now.


Panel 2: Surviving and thriving as a literary translator

How do you stay afloat in a competitive industry? What are the benefits of collaborative working and networking for emerging translators? Join a panel of expert translators and publishers as they discuss best tips for emerging translators.


Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer and artist. Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence, she is Researcher-in-Residence and Research Fellow at UAL’s Decolonising Arts Institute, and Associate Artist at the UK’s National Centre for Writing. She is co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/Deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches), author-illustrator of Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis), and author of debut poetry collection Rope (Nine Arches Press). Her next book is Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches, 2021).


Ruth Clarke is a translator from Italian, French and Spanish. She has translated work by authors from Benin to Venezuela, including Mariana Enríquez, Cristina Caboni, Enoh Meyomesse and Leonardo Padrón. Her translation of Evelina Santangelo’s novel From Another World will be published by Granta in 2021. Ruth is a founding member of the London-based translators collective The Starling Bureau.


Sawad Hussain is the winner of the 2019 Arablit Short Story Prize and two English PEN Translates awards. She co-teaches a workshop on translating Arabic comics at UK secondary schools via the collective Shadow Heroes. Her recent translations include resistance novella Passage to the Plaza (shortlisted for the 2020 Palestine Book Awards) and the groundbreaking experimental short fiction collection A Bed for the King's Daughter.


18th February, 11am, live from the Comma Press YouTube channel. Book now.



All workshops translate into English, therefore it is essential that all participants must have proficiency in the source language (reading proficiency not just spoken) and have a high proficiency in English. Applicants will be asked to answer a few quick questions when booking to determine their suitability for the workshop. 

These workshops are open to UK residents only. Priority for these workshops is given to residents of Greater Manchester – tickets for GM residents are currently hidden on Eventbrite to protect them. If you are a GM resident, please email to confirm and you will be provided with a code for these tickets. 


Punjabi-English Workshop with Kavita Bhanot

16th February, 2-4.30pm, closed Zoom meeting. Book now.


Urdu-English Workshop with Anjum Malik


17th February, 2-4.30pm, closed Zoom meeting. Book now.


Spanish-English Workshop with Gitanjali Patel


18th February, 2-4.30pm, closed Zoom meeting. Book now



Manchester in Translation is part of a series of events held on International Mother Language Day 2021 celebrating and promoting literature in the community languages of Manchester, UNESCO City of Literature.