This article reports the experience of a literary translation seminar at the University of Torino, developed as part of the international translation project Journeys in Translation. The seminar examined and translated six poems centred on the question of refugees. The discussions brought to the fore the inextricable relations between linguistic/figurative knots and issues related to refugees migrating to contemporary Europe, in all their human and humane facets. More specifically, the six translated poems offered the participants a chance to reflect on issues such as the reversing of one’s ingrained perspectives and the adoption of the Other’s vision; the language of war; the spatial constraints of diasporas and migration policies; the questioning of stereotypical dichotomies between different cultures; and the genre of journalistic poetry with its potential to enrich media reports. A series of theoretical reflections and practical activities around translation emphasised the privileged role of literature for an ethical approach towards otherness.
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asylum seekers, refugees, migration policies, poetry, postcolonial translation, translation theory