Welcome to the Dhaka Translation Center!
Literature loves to travel – and we help ferry it across. The aim of the Dhaka Translation Center is two-fold: to train literary translators and publish quality translations.
This webpage provides links to further information about our programs and activities, and ways you can get involved with the art of translation!
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Dhaka Translation Center, founded in 2014 under the aegis of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, is a first-of-its-kind institution in Bangladesh whose primary goal is to promote translation as a career choice and develop a strong cadre of literary translators through the provision of workshops, mentorships with renowned experts in the field and fellowships that eventually lead to publication. The workshops organized by DTC are facilitated by international experts, including the prolific Indian Bengali-to-English translator Arunava Sinha, and help inculcate in participating fellows global best practices, strategies and insights into honing their craft.
To date, DTC has trained twenty fellows in poetry and prose translation from Bengali to English. Many of these fellows have gone on to publish their work through titles commissioned by DTC as well as on their own. Others are currently working on translating longer works commissioned by the center for future publication. DTC provides continuing support to its fellows through refresher workshops and mentorships with established translators around the world and offers essential editorial support in fine-tuning translated manuscripts for publication.
By partnering with local universities and other educational institutions in organizing panel discussions and meet-the-author/translator events, DTC works to promote translation as a viable career choice for young wordsmiths. This premise is further supported by DTC’s commitment to publishing, through its partner Bengal Lights Books (BLB) and its annual literary journal “bengal lights,” works by promising new translators from Bangladesh. As an example, the initial batch of DTC fellows were commissioned to translate a collection of Bengali short stories, published in 2016 by BLB (and Comma Press, UK) in the collection titled “The Book of Dhaka.” Fellows from a subsequent batch were commissioned to translate 125 poems by a contemporary Bangladeshi poet for the collection titled “Kamal Chowdhury: Selected Poems” (BLB, 2017).
Dhaka Translation Center (DTC) celebrates the rich Bangladeshi literary tradition by encouraging a greater exchange with contemporary world literature. Towards this, DTC facilitates the publishing of world-class translations of works of literary merit from Bengali into English, and into Bengali from English and other languages. DTC also works to expand the reach of Bangladeshi literature in translation through affiliations with international publishers and literary foundations. DTC’s projects include the landmark Library of Bangladesh series, a first-ever collection of translations of the best of Bangladeshi writing produced for a world audience.
To date, a total of seven books in the series have been published and the center is working on translating and publishing more titles each year. As a testament to the quality of DTC-commissioned translations, renowned international publishing house Seagull Books has taken on the Library of Bangladesh series for worldwide distribution and has already made the first four books available globally. DTC has also partnered with Bengali publishing agencies to translate books from English and French into Bengali and is currently translating its first English memoir. In an effort to promote the craft to a younger audience, DTC recently entered into a partnership to translate the “Mujib” Bengali graphic novel series, three English volumes of which have already been published.
DTC answers a long-felt need in Bangladesh’s cultural arena for an institution dedicated to the development of the culture and practice of translation. It strives to raise the level of professionalism in the translation industry in Bangladesh by adhering to international standards not only in the quality of its translations, but in its relationships with authors and translators and its commissioning and publishing practices.