Florin Bican


Florin Bican graduated from the University of Bucharest and began publishing along with the 80’s generation, whose outlook he then unreservedly shared. At the same time and on the premise that translation is the highest form of reading, he started applying his acquired language to random samples of Romanian literature. He sees translation as an act of kindness towards those not lucky enough to have a working knowledge of his native language. The resulting good works, published in Britain, The United States and Romania, include translations from such authors as Dimitrie Cantemir, Ioan Budai-Deleanu, Anton Pann, Ion Creangă, Mihai Eminescu, Ion Slavici, George Bacovia, Tudor Arghezi, George Topârceanu, Miron Radu Paraschivescu, Leonid Dimov, Emil Brumaru, Ion Barbu, Gellu Naum, Virgil Mazilescu, Marin Preda, George Călinescu, Mircea Dinescu, Mircea Cărtărescu, Mircea Nedelciu, Bedros Horasangian, Daniel Bănulescu, Radu Aldulescu, Ştefan Agopian, Nicolae Manolescu, Andrei Pleşu, Horia Roman Patapievici, George Cuşnarencu, Ana Blandiana, Ştefan Augustin Doinaş, Mariana Marin, Florin Iaru, Vasile Ernu, not necessarily in that order. Among his Romanian translations from English, Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark is worth mentioning. He also occasionally translates German poetry into English and Romanian. When not translating, Bican turns out the odd article for Romanian, British, American and German publications and works on subversive children literature. His first volume of poetry, Cântice mârlăneşti (A Slob's Treasury of Verse, Bucharest: Humanitas Educaţional, 2007), is a collection of politically incorrect cautionary rhymes addressed to children and grown ups alike. His work in progress, Tropice tâmpe (Torpid Tropics), is an attempt at cautionary prose, and just as politically incorrect. Since 2006 Bican has been in charge of the Romanian Culture Institute’s program Translators in the Making, which trains foreign students of Romanian to be literary terrorists. Under his supervision, the recruits are exposed to Romanian literature with a view to translating it into their respective languages and being sent home to subject publishers to textual harassment until they see their translations in print. He currently commutes between Bavaria and Romania.


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This July, The Observer Translation Project leaves its usual format to present a special CRISIS ISSUE. Things are tough all over. Hard Times suddenly feels like the book of the moment. The global economic crisis impacts life as we know it, and viewed from Bucharest the effects reverberate in domains that include geo-politics and publishing in Romania and abroad, with the crisis at The Observer Translation Project as an instance of a universal phenomenon. read more...

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