This week at Recommended Reading, PEN America offers an excerpt from Brazilian author Noemi Jaffe’s novel Írisz: as orquídeas, which is remarkable for many reasons, one of them being that this is so far the only opportunity to read part of the Portuguese-language novel in English translation....more
Posts Tagged: translation
For Notches, a journal on the history of sexuality, Claire Hayward collects a series of responses from historians on writing queer history. These responses address the question, methods, and terminology in translating historical queer experiences to the present day, as well as the necessity for creating a space for queer historical figures in our collective past....more
The goal is to deliver something from another language into your own language so people will read it and like it. I think sometimes it’s forgotten that you have to be a good writer in your own language.
As part of its “Multilingual Wordsmiths” series, the Los Angeles Review of Books features an interview with Ann Goldstein, translator of Elena Ferrante’s novels....more
Despite its “near-canonical” status in America, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is taking its sweet time in the translation process. So far, it has only been translated into five other languages. At Lit Hub, Scott Esposito spoke to writers and translators to get a feel for how non-English-speaking readers have received Wallace’s opus....more
Using Anne Garréta’s 1986 novel, Sphinx, as a springboard, Stephanie Hayes explores the superpowers of gender-blank characters for the Atlantic. Sphinx’s recent translator, Emma Ramadan, describes how what began as an Oulipan constraint to avoid gender became a freedom from preconceived notions of male and female, and sometimes, a guessing game....more
I love the English language. I know some people go into translating because they love foreign languages, but I love English above all, and I enjoy translating these foreign texts into my beloved English.
In the first of six-part interview series with literary translators, the Los Angeles Review of Books features a conversation with Lydia Davis....more
For the Guardian, Richard Lea investigates the distinction between fiction and nonfiction writing, a distinction that exists most firmly in anglophone cultures and literature. Lea interviews several writers who work with texts in other languages, either as bilingual authors or translators, in order to find whether separating stories according to their factual content offers any benefit....more
For Guernica, Elisa Gabbert explores the incorporation of emoji into language and fiction. Gabbert also addresses the idea of diachronic translations, i.e. translating fiction from one historical era to another, and what place hyper-specific contemporary technology like emoji have in fiction....more
Matthew Wills revisits the life and career of Mary Somerville, a 19th century scientist, translator, and a popular science journalist. Somerville also has a notable place in linguistic history: the word scientist was first used in a review of her book, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, in 1834....more
Nothing connects you with a text or an author like being a translator.
Book Riot contributor Rachel Cordasco reached out to twelve literary translators and asked them what inspired them to pursue a career in translation. Their answers will inspire you, too....more
I have an impression that I write novels and then I publish the structure of those novels. There are missing Legos in that castle. And I like that. You must open a space for the reader.
For Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Tobias Carroll interviews Álvaro Enrigue on the ways he constructed his second novel, Sudden Death, for Spanish- and then English-speaking audiences, as well as what pieces of the real world make a story into a novel....more
I find the more furtively I move between genres, the more I surprise myself as a writer. Moving between genres, you carry curious things over and also carry them away. I like the gray areas between genres—prose that reads like poetry that moves like a thriller that falls over a reader like poetry—to keep mixing it up, and hopefully in the process move the genre of fiction forward in some compelling new way.
For VICE’s Broadly, Alicia Kennedy interviews Natasha Wimmer, Spanish translator extraordinaire, on her life as a translator of Great Male Novelists™ like Roberto Bolaño, Mario Vargas Llosa, and most recently Álvaro Enrigue. They discuss what makes translation rewarding, anxiety-inducing, and powerful all at once....more
But the truth is, it might not be travel so much as languages that inform and inspire me. It’s the defamiliarization that foreign languages provide that makes me want to work harder to appreciate and fully inhabit my own.
Over at Graywolf Press, poet Jennifer Grotz blogs about the unfamiliarity of foreign languages and literary translation....more
So I re-read the opening, then the end once more. I looked at the cover. I turned it over to contemplate what’s already been said about it. I set the book down on the bench next to me and smiled. Then I began the review in the present tense.
The Berlin-based author Yoko Tawada recently remarked that one of the difficulties she faced when translating Kafka’s short story “Metamorphosis” into Japanese was that the associations Japanese people had with insects—even presumably giant beetles—were different to those of Europeans.
In the Japan Times, Damian Flanagan traces the difficulties of translating “insect literature.”...more
Literature continually reminds us that we are not alone and (to paraphrase Kundera) that things are not always as simple as they seem. With so many stories, histories, characters and figures populating a reader’s mind, it’s easy for us to take for granted the liberation that literature imparts.