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CTr Graduate Showcases Her Translation in Asymptote Journal

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On October 20, the Fall 2022 issue of Asymptote Journal went live featuring new works from 32 countries and 19 languages, all brought together under the title “Half-Lives.” Its centerpiece is the Armenian Special Feature, co-curated by Asymptote’s Editor-at-large Kristina Tatarian and Editor-in-chief Lee Yew Leong. The Armenian portfolio includes stunning new translations of emerging authors such as Aram Pachyan and Anna Davtyan alongside more established voices like Narine Abgaryan, Krikor Beledian, and Hrant Matevossian. Among the impressive translators who have made the works of these brilliant authors available in English is Hayarpi Sahakyan (CTr. ‘14). She was one of the earliest graduates of the American University of Armenia (AUA) Certificate in Translation program (CTr.), launched in 2012.

Sahakyan came to AUA with an M.A. in English Language and Literature from Yerevan State University. After graduating from the CTr. program, she co-translated into Armenian (with David Matevossian) Aline Ohanesian’s Orhan’s Inheritance (Օրհանի ժառանգությունը, Aktual Arvest Press, 2015) and Maral Boyadjian’s As the Poppies Bloomed (Երբ ծաղկում էին կակաչները, Vard Press, 2018).

In her note to the translation of Hrant Matevossian’s story “The Green Field,” Sahakyan writes, “I realized that I was shouldering a huge responsibility by taking on the translation of Hrant Matevossian’s works. There are many reasons for this, but most important of all, his writing style is unique, intricate, layered in a maze of stylistic devices, and spiced up with words and phrases from the local dialect…. The greatest challenge for me was to move beyond a mere inanimate, spiritless imitation, and instead create a faithful replica of this great work of art, so the reader experiences this painting the way it is supposed to be felt when reading the original text. Just as Kazuo Ishiguro wanted his own words “to survive translation,” so too, during the process of bringing it into English, I was determined to preserve “The Green Field” as I knew it in Armenian.”

Winner of the 2015 London Book Fair’s International Literary Translation Initiative Award, Asymptote is the premier site for world literature in translation. Its mission is simple: to unlock the literary treasures of the world. To date, Asymptote has featured works from 121 countries and 103 languages, all never-before-published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and interviews by writers and translators, such as J. M. Coetzee, Patrick Modiano, Herta Müller, Can Xue, Junot Díaz, Ismail Kadare, David Mitchell, Anne Carson, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Ann Goldstein, and Deborah Smith.

Reaching beyond niche communities of literary translators and world literature enthusiasts, Asymptote is a unique translation-centered journal that serves as a valuable platform for genuinely diverse audiences. “Being featured in Asymptote means reaching a readership one may have never imagined; it means being globally visible, and this is crucial for those who work from minority languages such as Armenian,” explains Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the CTr. Program Dr. Shushan Avagyan. “Our commitment is to make Armenian authors available and visible to international communities,” she sums up.

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.