Plenary Lecture 1, August 31, 2012
Leong Hall Auditorium, 10:30-11:00 a.m.

University of the Philippines, Diliman

“Translation and Cultural Context”

Rendering a literary work into another language requires more than plain proficiency in the original language of the piece.  Culture and history are so meshed in language that translation requires  the translator  to delve into the context that went into the creation of the literary text.  This paper is based on the work that went into the making of my translation into Tagalog of four plays coming from different countries and climes.  The plays confronted me  with four different cultural and historical contexts that required to be clarified to make the translations reasonably faithful to the original works.

Bienvenido Lumbera holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Indiana University.  Aside from translation, he writes poetry, drama, literary history and criticism and film studies.  As Emeritus Professor, he teaches literature and Philippine Studies courses in the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature in the College of Arts and Letters of the University of the Philippines, Diliman. In 2006, he was named National Artist for Literature.

Plenary Lecture 2, August 31, 2012
Leong Hall Auditorium, 11:00-11:30 a.m.

Ateneo de Manila University

“Translation in My Filipino Classroom: Mitigating the sense of exile through Taglish/Bilingualism”

Two years after the EDSA Revolution, when I could no longer feel even a whiff of the lingering euphoria over the departure of the Marcoses, I came to understand my delusion—that despite moving over to the Filipino Department to teach Filipino literature (and no longer English literature in the English Department), a weird sense of being in exile, of banishment, had not left me.  With the Marcoses out, the Copernican revolution I thought we, the prime movers of the Filipinization of the Ateneo, had successfully launched and lived in our daily classes was not there at all.  We teachers of Filipino were far from the center.  With the revision of the core curriculum in the offing, the call for us to “computerize to modernize,” and the translation projects in the back burner, I would read the word dépaysement scrawled on the mirror of the female faculty restroom when in my blackest of moods.  We Filipino teachers were right there in our country, and yet we were experiencing a kind of “internal diaspora,” a migration of sorts without cutting ourselves from the mother tongue!  In silence and with cunning, I promptly devised a “hybrid” teaching strategy harnessing the powers of translation in my classes through the creative deployment of Taglish and bilingualism.

Professor, poet, and critic of Filipino literature, Benilda S. Santos holds a Ph.D. in Filipino Literature from the University of the Philippines, and an M.A. in English Literature from the Ateneo de Manila University where she served as Dean/Acting Dean of the School of Humanities, Chair of the Filipino Department, and Director of the Fine Arts Program.  Likewise, she is one of the founders of the Ateneo Institute for Literary Arts and Practices, and the Ateneo National Writers Workshop.

Santos has published three books of poetry: Pali-palitongPosporo (1991, 1995), Kuwadro Numero Uno (1996), and Alipato, MgaBago at Piling Tula (1999).  These received at various times the Gawad Balagtas, Taboan Award, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, National Book Award, Katha Awards, Lourdes Lontok Cruz Award, and the Parangal Amado V. Hernandez ng Samahang Anak Hagunoy.  A good number of poems from these collections continue to be anthologized in textbooks and books of poetry, especially those enlivened by feminist themes.  Some were translated and published in American literary journals and anthologies, and used as reading materials in exit examinations in American public schools.  Presently, Santos is finishing her fourth collection of poetry, Nawawalang Ulo ng Manika, largely inspired by the chapter, “Noche Buena,” in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.

In the field of literary and linguistic scholarship, Santos has contributed books, research, critical essays, lectures, and interviews.  Many years of teaching literature and creative writing have earned for her the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. 2007 Outstanding Teacher Award (Higher Education).  She continues to teach part time in Ateneo.

Plenary Lecture 3, August 31 2012,
Leong Hall Auditorium, 1:00-1:30 p.m.


“Translation: Carrying On a Conversation Between Two Muses”

I will speak only from own experience of translating Filipino poetry into English.

From the point of view of translation, the two main elements of literary composition for me are text and context. Text is what the (non-native) reader derives immediately from the translated composition, and context is what resides between the lines is usually dismissed as “lost in translation.” It is the translator’s business to recreate this context in the target language. And therein lies the crux of translation—mediating the “conversation” between languages, and recreating meaning. I will give examples.

Marne Kilates has published four books of poetry and has just finished his fifth collection, and numerous translations of books and individual works by major Filipino writers from Filipino into English. He has won the Carlos Palanca Awards, the NBDB-Manila Critics Circle National Book Awards, and the SEA WRITE Award given by the Thai royalty. He was recently holder of the Henry Lee Irwin Professorial Chair for Creative Writing at the Ateneo de Manila University. He publishes and edits the online literary journal, The Electronic Monsoon Magazine, at

Plenary Lecture 4, August 31, 2012,
Leong Hall Auditorium, 1:40-2:10 p.m.                         

Ateneo de Manila University

“Translation by Appropriation: ‘Saling-awit’”

This paper presents “saling-awit,” a literary and performing arts form that uses Filipino lyrics for popular melodies that have original lyrics in languages other than Filipino, loosely referred to as a kind of translation or adaptation. Although it has been around since the American colonial period, it has been kept alive and well in the works of important performance and literary artists like Rolando Tinio and Jose F. Lacaba, among others. “Saling-awit” is a testament to a continuing tradition of Filipino folk verbal arts embodying linguistic mobility, artistic ingenuity, even political subversion which will be illustrated in this paper by some popular examples from the body of works of Levi Celerio (1912-2002), National Artist for Music and Literature, and his contemporaries. Levi Celerio’s  “saling-awit,” as the paper hopes to show, is a product of a paradoxical process of linguistic, artistic and political transformation in which the translation becomes an original, and the foreign becomes  one’s own – a product of a dynamic process of appropriation.

Michael M. Coroza, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Filipino, School of Humanities of the Ateneo de Manila University. A multi-awarded poet, essayist, and literary translator, he received the Southeast Asia Writers Award (SEAWRITE Award) from the Kingdom of Thailand in 2007. He writes a weekly column on language and literature in Liwayway (Dawn), the longest running popular literary magazine in Filipino. He is currently the Secretary General of the Unyon ng mga ManunulatsaPilipinas (Writers Union of the Philippines). The Ateneo de Manila University has recently awarded him the Rev. Horacio V. de la Costa, S.J., Endowed Professorial Chair in History and the Humanities for 2012-13.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s