Translating Statements by Prominent Intellectuals during the Artsakh War
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Translating Chomsky, Spivak, and West During the Artsakh War

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YEREVAN, Armenia — In October and November 2020, the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Certificate in Translation (CTr.) students had turned their virtual classroom into a translation laboratory, discussing and translating into Armenian statements by prominent intellectuals who stood in solidarity with the people of Artsakh.

United in their dedication to communicate messages of support and hope, the CTr. class worked in unison to transcribe and translate the words of Dr. Cornel West who spoke at the one-day international conference “Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh and the Palimpsests of Conflict, Violence, and Memory” organized by the Armenian Studies Center of the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute. The translation of Dr. West’s speech was published in Granish on November 24.

Earlier, the class had translated Dr. Noam Chomsky’s discussion of Azeri aggression on Artsakh with David Barsamian, which appeared in Epress on October 19, and the call for lasting peace by Dr. Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak and other intellectuals, which was published in Epress on October 23.

“It was crucial to be a part of the community during those days. We wanted to do something within our abilities to engage prominent thinkers on the terrifying realities of the war and to translate their words of solidarity for those who needed them the most: the people of Artsakh. We felt it was our duty to connect our people who felt incredibly isolated and abandoned with a world that cared,” said Dr. Shushan Avagyan, assistant professor at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.