David Bellos's speeches examine the nature of translations, what they provide and how they enhance knowledge of civilizations. He emphasizes the importance that these cultural treasures of knowledge and language have in modern day.
As an English-born translator and biographer Bellos has an avid interest in understanding past cultures through the perspective of those who lived it. Currently, he is a Professor of French and Comparative literature at Princeton University and holds a position of Princeton's Translation and Intercultural Communication's director. Prior to his position at Princeton, Bellos taught French and comparative literature at Manchester and Edinburgh University.
In terms of his educational background, Bellos holds a doctorate in French literature from Oxford University, which allowed him to successfully translate author Ismail Kadare's Albanian works. In 2005, Bellos was the first to win the 'Man Booker International Prize' for his work with translation and went on to publish an award-winning translation of 'Life A User's Manual' by Georges Perec. He has also been awarded the 'French-American Foundation's Translation Prize' and the 'Priz Goncourt de la Biographie' for his extensive work in and with translation studies.
In conjunction with his translations, Bellos has authored a few award-winning originals of his own including 'Is That a Fish In Your Ear? Translation and The Meaning of Everything' and 'Landmarks of World Literature.'
It is important to look at literature through the perspective of individuals who lived in that time, versus hundreds of years later. The act of doing so allows modern society to grasp how past civilizations functioned and thrived according to David Bello's speeches.