About us


The Observer Translation Project is an international magazine of Romanian writing in translation. Launched in September 2008, OTP showcases previously untranslated fiction. We highlight a “pilot” author each month. This is the place to learn about Romanian writers, find updates on Romanian writing abroad, read CV’s, take a look at covers published in countries around the globe, check out the bibliographies, dip into author photos, search our steadily growing archive, and discover essays that put Romanian writing in context. Look for single author fiction issues every month, with free-wheeling updates in between. OTP translates into English, Dutch French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish, with room for guest languages on board.
Please note, English is the “lingua franca” of the non-literary parts of the site.
Observator Cultural is a weekly print and online review. A summary in English appears weekly at www.observatorcultural.ro.
Jean Harris, Director, the Observer Translation Project
Carmen Muşat, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, Observator Cultural
Silvia Dumitrache, Publishing Intern, Observator Cultural
Florin Bican, Translation Consultant

About this issue

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...

Translator's Choice

Author: Stelian Tănase
Translated by: Jean Harris

From Maestro: A Melodrama. Episode 7

Emiluţa has an unfortunate thought. She’ll throw herself off the top of the building. Why? What the fuck? Let’s say for the cause of PeaceonEarth, for the slumdogs, Europe, for the lonely. Which is to say she doesn’t have a ghost of a reason. Viva Walachia! The way things stand, if ...

Translator’s Note
Translator’s Note: a synopsis
Author: Ştefan Agopian
Translated by: Ileana Orlich

How I Learned to Read (from Tache de Catifea / The Velvet Man)

The bearded man was the owner of an apothecary shop where he worked with two apprentices. Nobody paid me any mind, so I spent all day in what was supposed to be the shop. I say this because it was a large, dark room full of odors—a mix of smells from everywhere. The room hadn’t been cleaned ...

Translator’s Note
Re: Learning to Read, from Tache de catifea / The Velvet Man
Author: Gabriela Adameşteanu
Translated by: Patrick Camiller

Wasted Morning - Napoleon in Bucharest

“What you’ve got here is heaven on earth,” Vica says as she drops onto the kitchen chair. “But where’s your mother?” “At work,” Gelu lazily replies, leaning sideways against the door. “She’s doing mornings this week, didn’t you know?” He is tall and thin, with unset ...

Author: Petre Ispirescu
Translated by: Jean Harris

Youth Without Age and Life Without Death

It happened once as never before-y, ‘cause if it couldn’t be true, it wouldn’t make a story about the time when the poplar tree made berries and the willow tree broke out in cherries, when bears began to brawl with their tails, and wolf and lamb, unfurling their sails, threw arms around each ...

Translator’s Note
On Petre Ispirescu
Exquisite Corpse

Planned events in Cultural Agenda see All Planned Events

17 December
Tardes de Cinema Romeno
As tardes de cinema romeno do ICR Lisboa continuam no dia 17 de Dezembro de 2009, às 19h00, na ...
14 December
Omaggio a Gheorghe Dinica Proiezione del film "Filantropica" (regia Nae Caranfil, 2002)
“Filantropica” è uno dei film che più rendono giustizia al ...
12 December
Årets Nobelpristagare i litteratur Herta Müller gästar Dramaten
Foto: Cato Lein 12.12.2009, Dramaten, Nybroplan, Stockholm I samband med Nobelveckan kommer ...
10 December
Romanian Festival @ Peninsula Arts - University of Plymouth
13 & 14 November 2009. Films until 18 December. Twenty of Romania's most influential and ...
10 December
Lesung und Gespräch mit Ioana Nicolaie
Donnerstag, 10. Dezember, um 19.30 Uhr Ort: Szimpla Café Gärtnerstrs.15, ...

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