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Margarita Serafimova

Author’s Note: Self-Translating
as a Bilingual Poet

I wrote some of these poems in Bulgarian and some in English. The Bulgarian-original ones I translated in order to submit to English-language publications. When the Copihue editors expressed an interest in seeing the Bulgarian originals of all the poems I had submitted, I created Bulgarian versions for the ones that were written in English.

I’ve been translating my poetry into English since 2017. I started translating for the purposes of sharing poems with someone who was important to me, and then, of submitting to US and UK journals and magazines. I wanted to share my work with global readers, free from the constraints of the national literary scene. As an international human rights lawyer by profession, I had been using
English for decades for legal submissions and related work. As a self-taught poet, I taught myself to render my micros in English by adhering as closely as I could to my own original wording and feeling. Having no creative writing or literary translation education, I feel self-translation is entirely up to me, and know and follow no other rules but being true to my authentic experience and the language it engendered at the time.

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