Language Students’ Translation Contribution to EuroFest 2023

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Katya Buchatska’s installation Izyum to Liverpool at Liverpool Cathedral.

Students from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Languages, Cultures and Film (LCF) have contributed to the city’s Eurovision Cultural Festival (‘EuroFest 2023’) celebrations by completing translations into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish of marketing and publicity materials for Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska’s exhibition Izyum to Liverpool, currently running from 1 to 19 May at the Anglican Cathedral.

The exhibition takes the form of a video installation recreating the train journey from the city of Izyum in eastern Ukraine to Mostyska, near the border with Poland. For many Ukrainians the train is the only means to escape war, as air travel is no longer operating since the full-scale Russian invasion began. Railway workers are considered heroes, risking their lives to help people travel out of the country.

Izyum to Liverpool exposes the instability of the environment - the imminent threat may not be always visible; however, its presence is palpable. Some shots are pixelated to hide Ukrainian strategic outposts. After sunset, scenes fall into darkness as Ukraine is still poorly lit at night. To ensure the safety of train passengers, all windows of the carriage were covered with transparent tape to protect travelers from possible shockwave blasts from explosions. The tape was temporarily removed from all but one window during filming. The soundscape was created with recordings taken during the shooting of the film.

LCF students were responsible for translating a Q&A between the artist, Katya Buchatska, and Elisa Nocente, Cultural Programme Manager at Liverpool Cathedral, in which the artist spoke about the opportunities offered by her collaboration with the Anglican Cathedral. “The size of the Cathedral is challenging, but I like challenges,” said Buchatska. “As is a typical experience of Ukrainian artists, I often find projects have both limited resources and time; you have no money, you have a small space in one room, and you have to create something in a single month. This time, I am encountering the opposite challenge - there is a good production budget and a much bigger space, which is quite different from the way I often work. It is a very interesting experience for me.”

LCF’s Student Engagement Co-Lead, Dr Sizen Yiacoup, who liaised with the Cultural Programme Manager at Liverpool Cathedral, Elisa Nocente, and the LCF students conducting the translations, said: “LCF students are in a brilliant position not only to provide translations of exhibition materials, but to understand and capture the cultural nuances of the artist’s vision. Being able to draw on their language skills as well as their cultural insights while ensuring the message behind the Cathedral’s EuroFest exhibition reaches as many visitors as possible from around the world has presented a really exciting and impactful opportunity for our students. They’ve done a brilliant job working to tight deadlines, and we’re proud that they’ve contributed to Liverpool’s role as hosts of the Eurovision Cultural Festival.”

Read more about Katya Buchatska’s installation at the Anglican Cathedral here.