A new director takes the reins at EKEMEL

The European Translation Center (EKEMEL) has achieved a lot since it was founded five years ago with the task of promoting translation studies in Greece and Greek literature in translation abroad. Natividad Galvez, an award-winning translator and former director of the Cervantes Institute in Athens, became director of EKEMEL in July following the resignation of former director Aris Berlis, who remains in his post as head of the English Department. Galvez spoke to Kathimerini English Edition about how she sees future projects and priorities for the organization. How do you see EKEMEL’s mission? Our task is to promote translation, which we do by running courses and seminars and holding cultural events, and promoting Greek literature abroad. The job of promoting Greek books in Greece is performed very capably by local publishers, of course, but we participate in book fairs and other events abroad. What activities are you concentrating on? Apart from our translation courses here in Athens, EKEMEL works with the House of Literature on Paros to hold seminars for translators working from other languages into Greek. This summer, 15 students from Spain spent two weeks on Paros. A group of around a dozen Italian students are attending a seminar there now, and in September a group of 20 will come from France. The good news is that we have signed an agreement with the University of Malaga so that their students will get academic credit for the diploma they get for attending our seminars. A similar arrangement is in the pipeline with France. Our next cultural event is on International Translator’s Day, September 30. The theme is crime fiction and we have invited crime writers from Greece and abroad to participate. EKEMEL offers courses in translation to and from five languages, but there are some gaps. Do you plan to deal with this, by offering courses from Greek to English, for example? We hope to, if the demand warrants it. This year we will run seminars in Turkish and if there is enough interest we will offer a Greek-Turkish translation course. EKEMEL suffers from a shortage of funds. How do you plan to solve this problem? EKEMEL is in debt. We are hoping to get operational funds promised by Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis. It is not easy to get private sponsorship in Greece, but we have applied for EU funding for cultural activities. The biography Natividad Galvez was born in Masanasa, Spain, in 1952 and studied history at university. In 1979 she came to Greece, where she taught Spanish language and literature. She later opened a tuition college which also conducted cultural events. In 1988 she won the Spanish state prize for translation for her rendition of «To trito stefani» by Costas Tachtsis. Other translations include «Ta resta» by Tachtsis, «Vardia» by Nikos Kavvadias,» Eleni i o kanenas» by Rhea Galanaki and «I gynaikes tis zois tis» by Lena Divani. She translated an anthology of Greek short stories from the late 19th century to the present day for the Liber book fair in Madrid. Galvez has also collaborated on translations of Spanish works into Greek. She was in charge of Spanish titles at Aiolos publishers. She taught Spanish language and literature at the Ionian University and was director of the Cervantes Institute in Athens from 2001 to 2004.