ISSN 1842-9149

Translation Café started in the year 2007, as the magazine of the MA Programme for the Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text (MTTLC), at the University of Bucharest.

The eZINE consists of a large number of parallel translations of the same text. The translations are made by graduate students of MTTLC, as a prolongation of their activity in class. They are meant to give the graduates a taste of their future profession, and also to increase their sense of responsibility for a translation they sign under their own name. No translation is checked by the teachers. The translators read other versions, and compare them among themselves. The result often goes into a volume published by Contemporary Literature Press, http://editura.mttlc.ro/. The magazine is posted on the internet the 18th of every month.

The texts are translated from or into English, and belong to all literary genres – fiction, poetry, literary criticism, as well as the drama, the essay. The focus is on Modern Literature, broadly meaning the 20th and the 21st centuries: Romanian, British, American among others.





Nigel Walker was born in Liverpool in 1950 and began to write poetry at a young age. The vibrant Liverpool poetry scene of the 1960’s introduced him to a wider style of writing and an English teacher who introduced him to Hughes, Causley and Heaney helped ensure that his education was deep as well as broad. He began reading in and across the city and became a member of the Merseyside Poetry Committee, helping to organise readings including the Big Poetry Nights of the early 1970’s at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. He presented, jointly with Spencer Leigh, the first local radio poetry broadcast on Radio Merseyside (No Holds Bard) and the two of them also ran readings in Southport including at the Atkinson Gallery. Three publications followed. Walker entered social work in the mid 1970’s and writing took a back seat while he developed his career, working in various locations around the country. He now lives in Beverley, East Yorkshire, and ran the successful Subtle Flame readings at Nellies between 1994 and 2000. He is a supporter of the poetry PRO and postgrad translation course at Bucharest University, regularly polishing a range of translated work. He has now retired from permanent work but still undertakes some consultancy in the field of health and social care and is opening an art gallery in June 2012.


Nigel Walker s-a născut în Liverpool în anul 1950 și a început să scrie poezie de la o vârstă fragedă. În orașul natal, în mediul vibrant al poeziei anilor ’60, s-a familiarizat cu diverse moduri de a scrie. În acest timp, profesorul de limba engleză, care l-a îndrumat spre scrierile lui Hughes, Causley și Heaney, a avut grijă să primească o educație deopotrivă serioasă și cuprinzătoare. A început cu lecturi în Liverpool și a devenit membru în Comisia pentru poezie din Merseyside. În această calitate, a organizat lecturi publice, printre care se numără Nopțile marii poezii de la începutul anilor ’70, desfășurate la Filarmonica din Liverpool. Împreună cu Spencer Leigh, a găzduit prima emisiune de poezie de la postul Radio Merseyside (No Holds Bard) și a condus lecturile publice de la Galeria Atkinson din Southport. Au urmat trei volume de poezie. La mijlocul anilor ’70, Walker s-a angajat în domeniul asistenței sociale, așa încât scrisul a început să ocupe un loc secund, deoarece își desfășura activitatea în diverse locuri din țară. Locuiește în Beverly, în East Yorkshire. Între 1994 și 2000, a condus evenimentele Subtle Flames, foarte bine primite de public. Sprijină proiectul poetry PRO și masteratul de traduceri literare de la Universitatea din București, unde contribuie periodic la stilizarea traducerilor aflate în faza finală. În prezent, s-a retras din câmpul muncii, dar încă mai acordă consultanță în domeniul sănătății și al asistenței sociale, iar în iunie 2012, va deschide o galerie de artă.


The Kiss



At first the naked eye
and a clear night sky.
Then thick opticals and mirrors,
the trick of focusing.

Later it will be mountain tops
in unpolluted atmospheres.
Radio signals and infra red.
More and deeper dishes,
better computers.

It starts with a shooting star,
the need to know more.
Once you have lain on your back
at 3am with a cloudless sky
and the Milky Way hovering it's
easy to start asking questions.

The more questions that we ask
the greater we reveal our own ignorance -
despite deeper dishes and more of them
and better computers. The questions
keep coming and fragments of answers
shot back from cameras
launched years ago,
all history being our future.

Sometimes you can sit in a bar
watch others laugh, hold hands
slap backs or briefly kiss,
know that you are without knowledge
and outside the rules of the game.

Sometimes it seems as though
we should have been satisfied
with that shooting star. But then
we may never have known what the questions are
or had to deal with
not knowing the answers.



The translators are the following:


Denisse Bucura

Bianca Dumitru

Laura Marinică

Petronela Corobleanu

Monica Manolachi

Anamaria Petrache


The Kiss

Kiss is variable and fantastic, the belief and the lie.
is affection, betrayal, lust, placebo.
is control and abandonment, folly and chance.
is given, taken, sought, snatched.

Kiss is a word and a dictionary
and the silence as the pin drops.
is joy and the gaps between red
where lipstick leaves its address.
is perfunctory, en passant, a moment
that lives in a vein of memory.
is the camera and the film. Means. End.

Kiss is a child's way of giving and saying.
is on the cheeks of acquaintances, friends.
is you breathing into me, washing my lips with yours.
is me penetrating you with my tongue.
is your teeth matching the bite.

Kiss is a diary with notes in the margin.
is the flame and the candle meeting.
is a map in the hands of the invader.
is a tiger rubbing the cage bars.
is a tyre hitting ice at speed.
is a fruit to be peeled and segmented.
is a covenant with commandments, promises.
is the wheel of a train beginning to move.
is an abandoned calculator, is harder that E = mc2.
is the domesticity of a hissing kettle.
is practising sawing the woman in half.
is a bubble straining, a fatness of joy.
is a test tube and the ethics inside it.
the teeth of a saw,
one seed in a field.

I kiss you.
Guess which.



The translators are the following:


Elena Bobocescu
Denisse Bucura
Florentina Căpraru

Elena Enache
Izabella Feher
Simona Gavrilă

Anamaria Petrache
Răzvan Sebeş
Cătălina Virvescu

Ioana Constantinescu
Petronela Corobleanu
Stela Cucu

Iulia Grosu
Monica Manolachi
Andreea Negrea