Performing Experimental Translation

updated 18:09:33 - June 1, 2023

Performing Experimental Translation

The group is composed by:

Erin Chris Ming Alexandra Bianca Jorge

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Topic proposal

brainstorming topic poetry

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Erin traduction langue

Si l’on ouvre la bouche pour émettre un mot au lieu d’un son, ou de l’air, ou rien, est-ce qu’on est déjà dans la traduction ? Enlevez une étiquette de jean de son contexte de jean pour nous la montrer sur une autre surface, s’agit-il de la traduction ? Et quoi dire du mot « traduction » ? On trouve ce mot presque partout, et très loin de l’activité de rendre dans une langue (culture, contexte, temps) ce qui a été déjà dit dans une autre langue, culture, contexte, et temps. How do we translate these research findings? How do we translate this into action? Etc.

Faire un mot ? Le mot dans l’émotion ? Emoción ? [The word in the emotion?] Which brings us to gesture: the passage of language through a body, that of the translator. It’s this that is of interest here. As is polylinguisme et ses effets, polylinguism and its effects— the use of more than un idioma para exprimir or contrar or countenance thinking. Countenance: does translation have a face? And if that face is of a queer body, queered body, an already queered reading practice? What does the face face? Who then can sign the translation? With what figure? Woman?

Translations emit. They pull us in and push at us at once. Emit, that curious word: it’s time spelt backward. Translation makes time go backward, as O Resplandor1 demonstrates. What other act can do this?

Each time, time’s rupture must be admitted, for every translation destroys time. This is not “an impossible sentence with no meaning.” It is the time or tense of all translation, all writing. Like the future anterior of the phrase “I died,” all translation appears as a monster in time itself. (O Resplandor 6) [O Resplandor, a book of poetry, is also my theoretical exploration of translation, for theory—or thinking, as I call it—is best performed in poetry, within the greater and more dexterous tools that poetry offers.]

Google translates the first paragraph, as I refuse to: If the mouth is opened to emit a word instead of a sound, or air or anything, are we already in translation? Remove a denim label from its jean context to show it on another surface, is it the translation? And what of the word “translation”? The word is found almost everywhere, and very far from the activity of rendering in one language (culture, context, time) what has already been said in another language, culture, context, and time.

Cuestións preparadas por Erín Moure 21 marzo 2019 Kelowna, C.-B.

Testing, testing…

Hi All, this is Michael, testing out this platform in order to get a hang of it. In messing around on the Markdown backend of this, I’m starting to realize that this is a pretty interesting and useful little notepad (with a few little hiccups that I will try to fix in moving forward) – and see this as a useful aggregational space for materials and exchanges to be shared within the group and then beyond to the other conference members.

Anyway, I realize it is slightly obscure at the moment how this pad will come to be useful during Publishing Sphere – but I believe this will be come clearer in the coming days as we begin to roll out some of the sites, info, and programming for the gathering. As we prepare to unroll this info, over the next few days I’ll post some info that I think is relevant to the gathering more generally, and then some additional information about you all so that you might begin to become more aware of the other members of the group. I’m truly looking forward to witnessing how you might all begin to work with one another.

More soonest~

intro translation poetry experiment

3GénPo Event with Erín Moure + Kaie Kellough + Nicole Raziya Fong

Here is the fb event page for the 3GénPo event at Concordia on 24 May:

And I’ll include Erín’s description of the event, as I can imagine its framing will merge into your conversations as well: 3GénPo = 3 poets, 3 generations, 3 new books // 3 poètes, 3 générations, 3 recueils nouveaux

3GénPo is a prepared poetry book launch and peformance in English with interferences and additions in French by three Montreal poets from 3 generations whose practice is mostly in English: Erín Moure, whose first book came out in 1979; Kaie Kellough, whose first book came out in 2005, and Nicole Raziya Fong, whose first book just came out in April, 2019. All their works look critically and humanely at origin, history, phenomenology, thinking, and being via poetry, poetry’s sounds, and via listening to the generations, in Canada and around the world. They have books but reject the commodification of the author and celebrate the conversations poetries engender. They read together so that their works may accompany each other and join listeners and readers, at least for one great evening!

3GénPo est un lancement de 3 recueils de poésie, préparé et interprété en anglais —avec des interférences et des ajouts en français— par trois poètes montréalais de trois générations dont la pratique est principalement en anglais : Erín Moure, dont le premier livre est paru en 1979; Kaie Kellough, dont le premier livre est sorti en 2005, et Nicole Raziya Fong, dont le premier livre vient de paraître en avril 2019. Toutes leurs œuvres montrent un regard critique et humain sur l’origine, l’histoire, la phénoménologie, la pensée et l’être, par moyen de la poésie, le son des mots, et par l’écoute des générations antérieures, au Canada et dans le monde. Ils ont des livres nouveaux, mais rejettent la marchandisation de l’auteur et célèbrent les conversations engendrées par la poésie. Ils lisent ensemble pour que leurs œuvres puissent s’accompagner et rejoindre des auditeurs et des lecteurs, au moins pour une superbe soirée !

translation performance event kaiekellough nicolefong erinmoure

Shanzhai Lyric (About)

The Shanzhai Lyric is an inquiry into global logistics and linguistics through the prism of technological aberration and nonofficial cultures. Taking inspiration from the experimental text that often appears on counterfeit (shanzhai) clothing coming out of China and proliferating across the globe, the project looks specifically at how the language of counterfeit uses mimicry, hybridity, and permutation to both revel in and reveal the artifice of global fashion hierarchies. This work seeks to contribute to a post-colonial discourse surrounding non-normative language use as a mode of investigating identity, difference, and desire in a globalized era‭. ‬The Shanzhai Lyric has previously taken the form of poetry-lecture, essay, installation and archive: shanzhai_lyric.

shanzhailyric minglin alextatarsky translation intro

Chris Tănăsescu, aka Margento (About)

Chris Tănăsescu (aka MARGENTO) is incoming Altissia Chair in Digital Humanities at UC Louvain. He draws on natural-language-processing algorithms and multilayer networks in his communal poetry. His alias alludes to his cross-artform band and/as a continuously growing transnational network of writers, artists, and coders shaping his migrant connectivity. He is the author, editor, or translator of over 25 volumes, the latest of which is a computationally assembled poetry anthology.

Chris Tănăsescu (alias MARGENTO) est le nouveau titulaire de la chaire Altissia en sciences humaines numériques à l’Université Catholique de Louvain. Il s’appuie sur des algorithmes de traitement automatique des langues et sur des réseaux multicouches dans sa poésie collective. Son pseudonyme fait allusion à son groupe combinant plusieurs formes d’art et / ou à son réseau transnational d’écrivains, d’artistes et de programmateurs qui ne cesse de se développer et qui façonne sa connectivité migrante. Il est l’auteur, l’éditeur ou le traducteur de plus de 25 volumes, dont le plus récent est une anthologie de poésie assemblée par ordinateur.

christanasescu margento translation intro

Erín Moure on Reading, Translation, and Multilingual Poetry

Link to an excerpt of Erín Moure’s 2010 conversation with Charles Bernstein on poetics, in which she discusses pushing writing out of a single language:

And a link to her page on PennSound:

translation erinmoure audio multilingual poetics poetry broadcast

Shanzhai Lyric (New Inquiry)

An excerpt from Ming Lin and Alex Tatarsky’s essay on “Shanzhai Lyric” in New Inquiry:

Made in China but bearing English text, ubiquitous garments spotted across the globe feature texts and aphorisms which appear to be mistranslations from some obscure fashion manual. These phrases connote trendiness but exist as intriguing nonsense. Brand names and major cities abound—Proenza Schouler, New York, Paris—alongside the lesser-known Tofyo, Zondon, Cnanel, while pop lyric and celebrities run the gamut of widely recognized (William Shakespeare, Allen Ginsberg) to the eccentrically misprinted misfit (Andy Warnol, Carfield). Hallmark sayings are interwoven with military slang, and then there are long strings of gibberish curbed by mysterious numbers and dates claiming alleged typologies and histories. The prerogative of fashion, as Caroline Busta writes, has always been that of “metabolizing the surplus of one’s environment.” Indeed, the manic mash-ups of realms and registers often read as poems distilled from the detritus of consumerism.

China has long been known for its vibrant counterfeit culture. The “World’s Factory” produces iPhones, Uniqlo and Gucci, but also Pardo, Muimui and Diro. “Copycat” or shanzhai brands are at once cause for law disputes and labor concerns as well as demonstrative of recent trends in China’s growing domestic market. In flagrant disregard of the concepts of authorship and originality which underpin Western brand worship, a new breed of designers has emerged as masterful manipulators of fashion rhetoric, skilled at subverting the ceaseless barrage of contemporary signifiers. This cacophony of copies has a flattening effect whereby logos are reduced to interchangeable images and words become patterns rather than text.

The French theorist Roland Barthes, in his ruminations on fashion, distinguishes the real garment from its visual and metaphysical counterparts. Referring specifically to magazine spreads, he notes two versions of the garment: the plastic “image-clothing” presented as a photo or drawing, and the corresponding verbal description, the “written garment.” These two forms of garment-being at once complement and contradict one another, and stand jointly in contrast to the real. Chinese shanzhai garments conflate the real, written and plastic where the written is no longer an ancillary description, but adorns the actual garment front and center. Text is thereby transformed into image, rendering it plastic.

Essay continued here.

shanzhailyric minglin alextatarsky translation garment-being barthes softarchitecture


Day 1

Erin Moure

About variate projects Erin Moure translating poetry Working with the materiality of the book Translation that can be thought as having invented their original author My name can be pronounced so many ways it could be anything

Wilson Bueno : writting in Portunol (mixed between spanish and portuguese) to “Frenglish”.

Gender ambiguities in the book Paraguayan Sea

In queer practices issues of boundaries and binarity are always into question.

When you are a poet and you translate people are not sure that you did not invented everything.

Translation issues in law : what text prevails between French and English in the law text? French in Quebec has the force of law, to avoid a semantic dispute.

notion of performativity could link our different works

Shanzai Lyric

Project started with the Shanzai t-shirt, we felt a kind of moquery / joy about them.

Bootlegging : Un disque pirate

The term in chinese Shanzai could be translated with “fake” (une contrefaçon) but could also be translated with shān zhài "mountain hamlet. Specifically interested into a shanzai language. Possibility of collective creation. Long tradition of painters painting the exact same image without putting a stamp of ownership.

Erin Moure In medieval texts there are patrons, but the original manuscript did not have any authorship on it. It wasnt the same time of authorships.

Shanzai Lyric The project is devoted to collecting and sharing Shanzai lyric. We often will do residencies in libraries. Archives are next from the feminists one in the archive in London. Situate them in a decolonial discourse. But Shanzai Lyric into different locations. Publishing aspect : getting the poems published.


Trying to find what a collective response to poetry could be. A festival was a natural way. Creating a performative langage from the well-known texts / figures. Terms of what we are planning to do with pulishing and translation : trying to see what it’s like to move from a physical place to a more “metaphorical place”. We will hopefully have soon a journal. Questinioning the authority of the event. Journal will be named #whathappens

Chris Tanasescu

It all started with trying to put my kid sister to sleep (7), and therefore to make up poems / fairytales / theater, with characters, and stars. I failed in putting her to sleep… My grandpa was a poet and grandma a math teacher. Hybrid perfomances. Translation : even though I would read Shakepseare in English I would have to put in Romanian for her. My sisters (girls) were not as much exposed to that culture. (patriachal bias?)

Translation was involved : French; English; German were mixed up with Romanian in my head.

Musicandmath; performance; mistranslation.

Band Extrapolating the concept of the band. Getting other artists to collaborate. Large contributors note / translator : inspiration, artists, musician.

What would be the way to continue this? It cristallised the concept of network.

Went more and more technical.

algorithms to do automated algorithmic processing the poetry.

Creative writting class : creating tools to go behond the personnal preferences. To try to track down the most suitable sound / author / form that they are looking for.

Initial romantic concept : turned upside down digital humanities to putting together an anthology, and writting.

Anthology mixing page-based and electronic, put together electronically.

Learnt so much more in both direction (network theory and poetry writting / translation) Had to come up with my own approach to digital translation.


Anthology -> romanian poetry translated electronically. Writting notes in both English and Romanian to what was done.

I could conceptualise why I like certain poems. Mathematical demonstration : marginal in so many ways but very strong connectors.

US expanded to “us” Anthology that started as american ended up global, marginal.

Margento resonating in “margin”.


Shanzai Lyric Project into transcribing the texts on t-shirt to the screen. Building a reportory of those transcription.

Chris How can we use that for the project here?

I’m thinking if we could get our hands on the repertoire of what you assembled so far.

Erin Who has the comptency or incomptency of translating a mix of languages.

Shanzai Lyric Se rendre vers quelque chose de cacophonique.

Erin I love this idea of backward text. backwardtext

We read a language with the language we know. Defining a problem often results in dumming down the problem to a problem we can solve.


Pour commencer la pensée je dois continuer à penser dans le langage dans lequel cela a été pensé, puis je peux me traduire. We think in words and echos of words. You get a thought in your langage. Follow the language to get somewhere (and often not going where you thougt you would)

Polylingual (mixing) / multilingual (staying to one language)

Bianca : intention

Erin : creating a meaning effect How Yo ; je ; and I etc aren’t the same thing.

Shanzai Translating sounds of languages you don’t know in gestures.

Recognizing the gift that each error is.

Erin working in translation with movements

Importance to speak up and say things to yourself, and being ready to make a fool of yourself. clownphilosophy

Short’s Film Project - first ideas

  • Reading the Shanzai shorts
  • Creating a lexicon
  • Specific tactics coming from different practices

Those are the Shanzai shorts, as worn by Erin!

Day 2

short reading

  • everyone is reading individually what is written on the shorts (different angles, different languages, different people)
  • Putting everything together in one file

First rush

Here’s the first rush of short’s metrage : all different readings / pictures put together in one file.

Day 3

Putting together results

  • Erin Moure poems, working with OCR and Text readers – What is translation without an original? Reflections on OCR. How can an OCR “translate” shanzai shorts? How to translate an accent? – Experiment : switching around the 4 letters mixed up by dislexics : pqbd. What does it sounds like now? – Text reading with a text reader, in different languages : how can a text reader “translate” a text? OCR textreader

  • Chris Tanasescu
    – Overall concept : making an algorithm that goes through the publishing sphere corpus file by file as a whole. – Shorts will cover certain parts of the texts that match with the algorithm. – In each file, the algorithm will find sections of the text that match with certain sections in the shorts work, and cover those sections of the text in the publishing sphere file, with the fitting shorts (ie the part in the relevant text in the shanzai corpus that computionnaly resonates with that specific section in the publishing sphere text). – Algorithmicly identifie in publishing sphere files the “private parts” (words or phrases that comuptionnaly appear to be less frequent and obvious), and cover them with the fitting shorts. – Correspondance between a certain publishing sphere text and the shanzai one is based on the network representation and graph theory analsysis of the two corpora.

  • Jorge Enrique Galvis-Meija Chose words of those took out of the shorts. Words : Discord, memory, occasion, step over, song, skills, nature, adventure, queen, sires, sin, universo, father, noises, again Make relation with a poem of Catalus.
    Written it’s own poem with a mix of all languages based on Cataluse’s poem.

  • Bianca Messinger Performingtranslation Fables are Questions with the dramatis personae: – gnat – queen – scotian – galician – pope


Live performed translation from Homère, professeure à McGill : Kozack.