Getting high quality literature in more languages into the hands of more people is the aim of an exciting new digital platform which was launched in Trinity College Dublin this week. Inspired by the innovative coffee house culture of the last century, KaffeeHouse.com opens up the world of literary translation to all by allowing users to break through language barriers and connect with writers, publishers, translators and readers worldwide.
Teaming up with small publishers worldwide, KaffeeHouse.com will publish high quality short-form writing – poetry, short stories, short plays – and invite readers and other writers around the world to translate, engage and comment on this work. KaffeeHouse.com was founded by two Trinity PhD students, Dr Emmett Tracy (Classics) and Dr Kevin Koidl (Computer Science), in collaboration with Dr Peter Arnds, Director of Trinity’s postgraduate programmes in Literary Translation and Comparative Literature.
Dr Kevin Koidl, co-founder of KaffeeHouse and Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science, explained: “Café houses were visited by writers, artists and thinkers throughout Europe. It was a place for inspiration and dialogue and for some even a second home and workshop. Especially in cultural melting pots such as Paris, London and Vienna the diverse background and language of the café house visitors caused exciting dialogues that supported new forms of art and literature from art nouveau to expressionism. These days the web has opened an opportunity to revive this cultural movement. It is the vision of Kaffeehouse to use new and exciting web technologies to offer an online and globally accessible café house that breaks down language barriers and is driven by the core principles of the café house culture: collaborate-explore-connect.”
Dr Peter Arnds added: "This project is the perfect blend of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-enhanced education. For my students it is a unique tool to help them promote their work, but anyone with a love of literature will find this platform a wonderful way to create, collaborate, and discover new translations of works of literature ranging from the classics to new writing by undiscovered poets and authors. The launch this week will help everyone to get an idea what the site does and how it will evolve over time."
The new KaffeeHouse platform was launched at an event in Trinity Long Room Hub on Wednesday 1st April. A website demonstration was followed by a panel discussion titled 'The future of global literature: Will digital allow us to break down those language barriers?’ which focused on the intersection of literature and the digital world.
The panel discussion at the launch featured Dr Peter Arnds, Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature/Literary Translation, Trinity; Parsa Ghaffari, CEO & Founder of Aylien; Dr Pierre Joris (via webcam), Emeritus Professor, SUNY Albany; Tim Keefe, Head of Digital Resources and Imaging Services (DRIS); Dr Emmett Tracy, Co-founder of KaffeeHouse and Aine Tyrell, Editor-in-Chief, T-Jolt, Trinity.