fot. Daniel Bednarz

Polish-Czech Translation Seminar in Broumov (report and photos)

The Polish-Czech translatological seminar in Broumov ended on Sunday. The event was part of the programme’s activities preceding the presentation of Poland as an honorary guest of the International Book Fair and the Svět knihy Literary Festival in Prague as well as the presentation of the Czech Republic as an honorary guest of the Warsaw Book Fair in 2020.

The Polish-Czech translatological seminar entitled Wszystko już było? (“Everything’s been done?”) for translators of Polish and Czech literature began on Friday. The inauguration was accompanied by a meeting with Marta Dzido and Pavla Horáková.

Representatives from the Book Institute and the Czech Literature Centre, Jakub Pacześniak and Michala Čičváková respectively, introduced the translators to the activities of the two institutions by presenting catalogues of the most interesting new publications of recent months in the Czech Republic and Poland.

The presentation was followed by a meeting with writers Pavla Horáková, a winner of the prestigious Czech Magnesia Litera 2019 award, and Marta Dzido, a winner of the European Union Prize for Literature 2019, who is currently staying at Broumov Monastery as part of her literary residences. The writers read out excerpts of their novels.

Marta Dzido's novel Frajda ("Fun") recently had its Czech premiere. “Slast", as the Czech translation by Anna Plasova is entitled, was published by Dokořán with the support of the Book Institute as part of the ©Poland Translation Programme.

On Saturday, translators from Poland and the Czech Republic had the opportunity to get to know the book market in both countries, they learned about the most interesting new literary publications, and took part in a translation workshop.

Anna Rucińska-Barnaś introduced the translators to the details of copyright law in Poland, as well as the nuances of the work of literary agencies. Initially, Rucińska-Barnaś emphasised the importance of the agency's cooperation with translators. "Without translators, there would be no Polish literature in the Czech Republic,” she stated, adding that the translation is legally dependent on the original, which means that the author can choose a translator. Acquisition of rights, however, is the sole responsibility of the publisher, never the translator.

Rucińska-Barnaś also emphasised the importance of personal contacts within publishing houses and literary agencies and also warned translators against situations where a publisher - a "grant hunter" – only really wants to make use of a grant and publish a book at a minimal distribution. In this case, it is best to contact the Book Institute, a literary agency, or an association of translators.

Rucińska-Barnaś finished her presentation, accompanied by an interesting and engaged discussion by translators, explaining how to best present the book to publishers.

Subsequently, lawyer Viktor Košut presented the most important copyright issues for translators from a Czech perspective, drawing attention to the traps they face when working with publishers.

After the segment devoted to the book and translation market, Krzysztof Ćwikliński presented the most interesting new Polish book publications of recent years to Czech translators, and Jan Heller introduced the Czech literary phenomena to translators from Poland.

The informational and practical component was closed with a workshop during which Polish and Czech translators discussed selected translations and translation solutions. Afterwards, Štěpánka Balcarová performed with her ensemble. Balcarová composed songs to poems by Julian Tuwim, which can be found on the CD Life and Hapinness of Julian Tuwim. 

On Sunday, the last day of the Polish-Czech translatological seminar, the programme for two of next year's events was presented: the Warsaw Book Fair, where the Czech Republic will be the guest of honour, and the International Book Fair and Literary Festival Svět knihy in Prague, which will be attended by Poland as an honorary guest.

Michala Čičváková and Tatjana Langášková familiarised the translators from Poland and the Czech Republic with the details of Czech-Polish cooperation at the Warsaw Book Fair.

From the outset, Jakub Pacześniak, an employee of the Book Institute, said that the partners of the Book Institute, the organiser of the Polish stand during the International Book Fair and the Literary Festival Svět knihy 2020, which will take place on 14-17 May, will be the Polish Institute in Prague, as well as the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the National Library of Poland. Then, Jakub Pacześniak presented the guests of the Polish stand. They will include, inter alia: Olga Tokarczuk, Wiesław Myśliwski, Dariusz Karłowicz, Bronisław Wildstein, Andrzej Sapkowski, Martyna Bunda, Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar, Wojciech Tomczyk, and Aleksander Kaczorowski.

Presentations of literature will be accompanied by music (a folk concert combined with folk dance workshops) and culinary presentations. There will also be a performative reading of Norymberga (“Nuremberg”) by Wojciech Tomczyk. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute will prepare an exhibition of children's book illustrations. The National Library will present a Czech collection from the Library’s own collection. The Forum of Professionals will include discussions on reading and startup programmes (including the programme "Small Book - Great Man" and the Czech equivalent). One of the professional panels will probably also be devoted to literary translations.

Jakub Pacześniak's speech was supplemented by Lucie Zakopalová.


The event is part of the programme’s activities preceding the presentation of Poland as an honorary guest of the International Book Fair and the Svět knihy Literary Festival in Prague as well as the presentation of the Czech Republic as an honorary guest of the Warsaw Book Fair in 2020.