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Guest Speaker — Esther Heboyan

Esther Heboyan, associate professor of American literature and film at the University of Artois, Arras-France, visited the University of Florida for two presentations on March 12 and March 14, 2018. She is a professor, a translator (Turkish/English/French), and a creative writer.

Dr. Esther Heboyan’s visit allowed French and Francophone Studies to develop University of Florida contacts that will become integral to the forthcoming international exchange program with University of Artois.

Dr. Heboyan’s first talk, “La traduction malaise de l’américain vers le français dans America America d’Elia Kazan/The uneasy translation from American to French in Elia Kazan’s America America,” took place in the context of the current class on “Translation and Writing” (FRE 4420 #01ED and FRE 6466 #01FB) Writing in French/Les mots pour l’écrire, spring 2018) offered in LLC. The lecture attracted French faculty and students in French interested in the newly reorganized UF Translation Certificate, housed in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and interested in the scope of translation studies as it branches out into international film subtitling. Prior to her talk, Dr. Heboyan visited my seminar and spoke with students for an hour and a half, addressing their questions about writing and translation as well as the world of editing and publishing. Subsequently, the class transported itself to a larger room for her “official” talk. The topic of her talk was especially concerned with subtitling in films and the inadequacies of translation. This domain is pertinent for our students who are oftentimes watching international films without any understanding the subtleties and pragmatics of translation and the requirements of subtitling for the big screen. This topic is still current in the digital age. On top of this, some of our students are destined in their future careers to branch out into translation jobs, or careers that involve writing in their second or third language – French.

Esther Heboyan on campusThe second presentation involved her reading one of her short stories, and several poems, with a question-answer session. This talk was well received and provoked a stimulating exchange and debate with the guest speaker. It was located in the Alachua County library, downtown. Two student-journalists were present and asked questions that were relevant to her background in journalism and creative writing. A professional photographer was on site. Both talks were open to the larger community, and several organizations had been tapped for this. Heboyan’s visit has been widely publicized to members of the Alliance Française of Gainesville and faculty at the Gainesville High School, different branches of the Alachua County Library; UF’s Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, UF’s International Center, UF’s Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, UF’s Creative Writing program, UF’s Department of English, and UF’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, as well as the Miami French Cultural Services at the French Embassy. All were informed of the dates of her lectures through posters/flyers and electronic mailings, as well as websites and Facebook pages. The editorial staff of Delos, an international journal of translation, was present for both talks, and had invited her to join the board of their journal prior to her arrival.

All these events required some form of official poster production, and distribution. The event was subsidized by a French embassy grant, the France-Florida Research Institute, and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.