Translating Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose:” A Talk by Zaven Boyajyan

YEREVAN, Armenia – On March 17th, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a talk on “Translating Eco’s The Name of Rose,” with speaker Zaven Boyajyan. The event was co-organized by AUA’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Armenian Literature Foundation, and the Armenian Literary Translators Association.

Boyajyan shared his experience translating famous Italian author Umberto Eco’s first novel, “The Name of the Rose,” from Italian into Armenian. According to Boyajyan, the main difficulty faced was dealing with the novel’s complicated literary features, as the story takes place in the 14th century and is written in a complex narrative style. As a solution, he suggested conducting thorough research of the time period, place, and culture in order to have a more complete understanding of the novel before beginning the translation process. He also stressed the importance of staying true to the narrative style and formal idiosyncrasies of the text.

The talk was attended by many members of AUA’s Certificate in Translation program as well as Armenian Literary Translators Association and was a reflection on a growing trend in Armenian translation. According to Shushan Avagyan, a lecturer in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), “The majority of translations of foreign literature in Eastern Armenian in the past seventy years have been predominantly done through an intermediary language—Russian. We are now entering a new stage of literary translation in Armenia where foreign texts are introduced into Armenian from their original languages. The Certificate in Translation program at AUA is dedicated to and promotes this pivotal process of cultural discovery and innovation in the realm of literature.”

The talk concluded with a Q & A session where Boyajyan detailed his long-standing collaboration with Antares Press and future translation projects including Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

Zaven Boyajyan is a film critic, editor, and translator from Russian, English, French, Italian, Polish and Bulgarian. He graduated from the Philology Department of Yerevan State University with a specialization in literary and art criticism. Boyajyan has translated into Armenian the works of William Saroyan, John Osborne, Edward Albee, Harold Pinter, Henry Miller, and Umberto Eco, as well as edited the translations of works by Janusz Wisniewski and Gabrielle Wittkop.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.


On March 17th, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a talk on “Translating Eco’s The Name of Rose,” with speaker Zaven Boyajyan.


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