Translation Tuesday

  • Statue hand writing. Photo by Marsha Brockman/Flickr
    October 28, 2014 | Andrés Ehrenhaus
    Photo by Marsha Brockman/Flickr   To say literary translation is to commit a pleonasm. All translation is intrinsically literary, in the same way every text is, at least for one of the three legs that make up the textual event: poetics, aesthetics, and catharsis. A text that has been produced by no one, that is received by no one, and that does not communicate anything simply is not a text.  The...
  • Colette as Le Petit Faune in Le désir, la chimère et l’amour at the Théâtre des Mathurins, Paris, 1906. Source: Little Penny Dreadful.
    October 14, 2014 | Zack Rogow
    Colette as Le Petit Faune in Le désir, la chimère et l’amour at the Théâtre des Mathurins, Paris, 1906.Source: Little Penny Dreadful. Sometimes half the battle in translation is locating the right texts. Shipwrecked on a Traffic Island and Other Previously Untranslated Gems by the French novelist and performer Colette (1873–1954) is an example of that sort of project. I first s...
  • Sculpture of person reading a book in a park with red flowers
    September 23, 2014 | Jen Rickard Blair
    Photo by Nèg Foto Whether you’re looking for a quick escape on your midday break or a quiet lunch with that always entertaining friend, literature, this list includes five short works of fiction that you can read alongside your favorite lunchtime meal. These various translations have appeared in the pages of World Literature Today and range from dryly humorous to absorbingly deep. 1. “T...
  • Antonio Skármeta
    September 16, 2014 | Arthur Dixon
    Photo: Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle via Wikimedia Commons Many works of Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta have formed the foundations of further artistic endeavors, including and beyond their own translations. His 1985 novel, The Postman, inspired both Michael Radford’s film Il Postino and Daniel Catán’s opera of the same name. More recently, his unpublished play...
  • Kim Myung Won
    September 9, 2014 | EJ Koh
    Kim Myung Won An impressive poet and experimental author in her own right, EJ Koh reflects on the many sources needed in order to translate Kim Myung Won’s poetry into English: family insight, self-reflexivity, and “sudden fire.”    다비  희미해진 몸의 촉수를 켠 장작들위에 가볍게 얹히는 별빛의 무게  봄 흐트러진 사과나무 꽃밭 석천사 앞뜰에서틀어진 세월에 꽃잎을 띄워 주시며나의 서른 살을 배웅해 주셨던 지오 스님 둥글게 잘 익은 사과 한 알로 누워눈부신 씨앗만이 남겨질 때까...
  • Protestors dressed as zombies in Slovenia. Photo by Jumpin' Jack/Flickr
    August 19, 2014 | Miha Mazzini
    Slovene protestors dressed as zombies. Photo by Jumpin' Jack/Flickr With political elites in power who, many claim, were out of touch with the people, the small, Adriatic country of Slovenia staged a zombie uprising in late 2012 and into the spring of 2013. At first, mostly peaceful protesters gathered to voice their dissatisfaction with the government in Maribor. But when...
  • Diary of the Fall
    August 12, 2014 | Megan Smith
    By My Hand: A Commissario Ricciardi Mystery by Maurizio de Giovanni Translated by Antony Shugaar Gifted with the ability to see and hear the final moments of murder victims’ lives, a commissioner and his partner traverse Naples in an effort to decode the last words of a wealthy couple found dead in their apartment.   The Last Days of My Mother by Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson Translate...
  • Kathleen Heil
    July 22, 2014 | Kathleen Heil
    Kathleen Heil for Patricio Pron  I don’t know when, exactly, I began to equate literary translation with the institution of marriage. But at some point I started to think that the experience of creating a short story or novel or poem in one language—when there exists what is known as an “original” in another—was not dissimilar to the condition of being married. I did n...
  • The Elusive Moth
    July 15, 2014 | Jen Rickard Blair
    Invisible Love by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt Translated by Howard Curtis. Europa Editions. This newest collection of short stories from Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt examines the facets of love through a variety of short tales. From a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps who finds inner peace in the love of a faithful dog to a mother who rediscovers love for her child when someone tries to take t...
  • The corner of Ipiranga at Avenue São João. Photo by Ricardo Romanoff.
    July 8, 2014 | Zack Rogow
    The corner of Ipiranga at Avenue São João. Photo by Ricardo Romanoff With all eyes on the World Cup in Brazil and one semifinal due to be played in São Paulo’s Arena Corinthians on July 9, it seemed like a good moment to introduce a translation of a famous song about the city known affectionately as “Sampa.” “Sampa,” They Call São PauloCaetano Veloso  There’s something that ri...
  • Yellow Tulips
    July 1, 2014 | Naja Marie Aidt
    Photo by Laura Taylor/Flickr I didn’t see her come in, but suddenly she’s there. She’s walking on the polished floor in her heavy boots. She’s long-legged. That’s the first thing I notice. It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m drinking a cup of coffee, watching people; I had an errand to do in the neighborhood, to pick up some dry cleaning, but then I also bought a bouquet of tulips, some tea cake, an...
  • Denise Newman
    July 1, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    This October, Two Lines Press will release Baboon, the first book-length translation of Danish author Naja Marie Aidt. That story collection, Bavian, won the 2008 Nordic Council Literature Prize. “The Woman in the Bar,” a story from the collection, is available on WLT’s website as part of its Summer in Translation Reading Supplement. Here, WLT tal...
  • The Dance of a Sham by Paul Emond
    June 24, 2014 | Jeremiah Gentle
    Conversations by César Aira Translated by Katherine Silver The Argentine story circulates around the conversations that permeate a small café. During one of these conversations, a gold Rolex is seen on the wrist of a TV soap opera’s goatherd. This class discrepancy sparks discussion, and when the TV plot thickens with a mutant strain of killer algae, they are plunged into deeper debate t...
  • EJ Van Lanen. Photo by Anthony Schuber.
    June 17, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    EJ Van Lanen. Photo by Anthony Schuber. Which is better, print or online? Which is more helpful to the cause of advancing translated literature, starting a publishing company or something else? The literary world is abuzz with debate. Two years ago EJ Van Lanen, already at work publishing translated literature, began a new venture: publishing translated literature, but only...
  • Khachapuri. Photo by Robyn Lee/Flickr
    May 27, 2014 | Sarah Smith
    Khachapuri. Photo by Robyn Lee Though the Republic of Georgia has a strong literary past, especially in the medieval era, the Soviet shadow and the country’s singularly difficult language (talk about consonant clusters) have suppressed global access to Georgia’s literature. Still, several English translations have made their way into publication in the past few years, and G...
  • Mara Faye Lethem
    May 20, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    Translator Mara Faye Lethem Today is the release date for Papers in the Wind, the English translation of Eduardo Sacheri’s Papeles en el viento (2011). Following the death of Mono, his brother and friends struggle to secure Mono’s daughter’s future. Unfortunately, Mono invested his money in a promising soccer player whose talents haven’t panned out....
  • Seven Lives and One Great Love: The Memoirs of a Cat
    May 13, 2014 | WLT
    As you’re building your summer reading lists, don’t forget these new translations.   Seven Lives and One Great Love: The Memoirs of a Cat Lena Divani Konstantine Matsoukas, tr. (Europa Editions)     Why I Killed My Best Friend Amanda Michalopoulou Karen Emmerich, tr. (Open Letter Books)        The Iraqi Nights Dunya Mikhail Kareem James Abu-Zeid, tr. (New Directions)     The Secret of Evil Robert...
  • Book cover of Navidad & Matanza
    April 29, 2014 | WLT
    Every month, new English translations appear. Here are three of April’s offerings. Navidad & Matanza Carlos Labbé. Will Vanderhyden, tr. (Open Letter) In Chilean writer Carlos Labbé’s short metafictional novel, two children go missing from the beach town of Matanza. The journalist narrator reports on the family’s case from an underground lab, where he and six others play a game in which they...
  • Front of a bookshop in Norway
    April 15, 2014 | Sarah Smith
    A Conversation with Don Bartlett A bookshop in Stavanger, Norway. Photo by Marie Guillaumet/Flickr In Norway, many bookstores carry a wide variety of translated fiction, noticeably more than one might see in a UK or US bookstore. Don Bartlett and other translators of the Norwegian language work on translating the culture of Norway into English. I spoke to Bartlett about the...
  • Moon in the sky
    April 4, 2014 | Zack Rogow
    Photo by Christopher Irwin/Flickr According to the translators of Maulana Hasrat Mohani’s ghazal “Silently, silently,” their translation “functions something like the supertitles to an opera. Unless you hear an opera sung in the original language, the text of the supertitles is only a faint shadow of the experience.” In the essay that follows, Zack Rogow d...
  • Words without Borders: The Best of the First Ten Years
    April 1, 2014 | Jen Rickard Blair
    “Perhaps this approach to discussing the art of translation is not very different from the tradition of midrash, where the holy book is revisited again and again, so the years bring only more richness and variety. By admitting that no poem can truly be translated, but that a new poetics can flow from the originals, a literary tradition is established in that midrash-like handshake between the...
  • March 25, 2014 | WLT
    The following four titles are new translations released this month and are ready to jump onboard your spring or summer reading lists.   Stories Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Rhett McNeil, tr. Dalkey Archive Press  This collection includes both the Brazilian author’s essay on world literature and ten stories available in English for...
  • Vladimir Lorchenkov
    March 18, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    New Vessel Press recently released The Good Life Elsewhere, Vladimir Lorchenkov’s scathing satire from Moldova. Born and currently living in Moldova, Lorchenkov is a laureate of Russia’s 2003 Debut Prize and the 2008 Russian Prize. For ten years, he was the crime section editor of a Moldovan newspaper. The Good Life Elsewhere follows the tragicomic efforts of the citizens o...
  • The Castle of Whispers
    February 25, 2014 | Alexandra Eggleston
    This February, take a trip through Europe’s dramatic past and present with these engrossing new translations.  The Castle of Whispers by Carole Martinez tr. Howard Curtis Europa Editions  This intricate work of fiction by one of France’s best-loved novelists tells the tale of a young woman in the twelfth century who defies her father’s wishes for a profitable marriage an...
  • The Good Life Elsewhere
    February 18, 2014 | Michelle Johnson
    A Conversation with Ross Ufberg Today is the release date for The Good Life Elsewhere, Vladimir Lorchenkov’s scathing satire from Moldova. Born and currently living in Moldova, Lorchenkov is a laureate of Russia’s 2003 Debut Prize and the 2008 Russian Prize. For ten years, he was the crime section editor of a Moldovan newspaper. The Good Life Elsewhere follows the tragicomic ef...

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