A Life in Translation

Thursday, November 15, 2009
Memorial Union, Journey Room, 4:00 p.m.
Professor Michael Henry Heim, University of California, Los Angles

Michael Henry Heim published his first translation, a collection of Chekhov’s letters, in 1972 and has regularly published translations of contemporary and classical prose and drama from a number of languages ever since. He will speak about how he was attracted to translation, how he learned the languages he translates from, and how he chooses the works he translates. He will also discuss the translation methodology he has developed over the years and the ways in which he applies it to the teaching of translation, illustrating his points with frequent quotations from his work.

Heim is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he has taught for more than thirty-five years. He translates contemporary and classical fiction and drama from the Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian, Russian, and Serbian/Croatian. His work includes Anton Chekhov’s Life and Thought: Selected Letters;The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal; My Century and Peeling the Onion by Günter Grass; Helping Verbs of the Heart by Peter Esterházy; and Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kiš. He has recently published new translations of Chekhov’s plays (Modern Library/Random House) and Mann’s Death in Venice (Ecco/HarperCollins) and is currently working on his first translation from the Chinese. At UCLA he teaches a Workshop in Literary Translation and is the adviser of the Babel Study Group for Translation Studies. He has been the recipient of numerous fellowships (Fulbright, Guggenheim) and translation prizes and served on translation juries for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the PEN American Center, and the Goethe-Institut. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

View Dr. Heim’s lecture.

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