Author: Deborah Smith
Source: LA Review of Books
‘Literary translation can both resist and perpetuate cultural imperialism; as translators, we need to stay aware of our own biases, and of the plurality of approaches advocated by those whose biases and aims are other than ours.’
The winner of the inaugural International Man Booker in 2016, Deborah Smith discusses the politics, poetry and pitfalls of translating Korean for an Anglophone readership.
Author: Emily Wilson
‘The Loeb (again, said to be the “literal” prose version) translates στομάτων as “lips”. The word means “mouths”. It does not mean “lips”. It just doesn’t. There’s no reason I can think of to turn a mouth into lips, UNLESS you want to make sure the Sirens sound sexy.’
In this thread Emily Wilson gives a powerful illustration of how meaning can be manipulated through translation.
Author: Khairani Barokka
Source: Modern Poetry in Translation
‘Translation requires more than just broad political understandings that are transplanted from the contexts of majority English-speaking countries and supposedly applicable to all. It requires an understanding of the existence of truly hundreds of different feminisms in a country like Indonesia, and that unequal power dynamics operate in and among each.’
Khairani Barokka’s inaugural essay as Poet in Residence at MPT calls for an end to the Orientalist myth-making of a ‘national canon’ of Indonesia, and the exclusion of voices that results
Source: Pen Transmissions
This concern about putting voices out there – who are not amplified or picked up easily within the Anglophone discourse – has been a motivation behind my choice of projects.
Meena Kandasamy illustrates the importance of translation to fill a void in the English feminist and political discourse, in this interview for English Pen.
Source: Pen Transmissions
“A lot of the ways in which world literature is framed are about building bridges. But that denies the political, historical and economic violences that subtend cultural contact-zones. It’s totally fraught, and there’s no easy answer.” –Nick Glastonbury
This interview with Sema Kaygusuz, author of Every Fire You Tend and her translator Nick Glastonbury, shows a confluence of authorial and translatorial projects in choosing language that accommodates plurality and challenges prevalent colonial and capitalist narratives.
Author: Nariman Youssef and Sawad Hussain
Source: Words Without Borders
“[…] one cannot write about real-life experiences from the place of the “I” without laying claim to a place in the world. The pieces included here—like most genuine, impactful life writing by good writers of all genders or none—cut across the private and public spheres to give us stories that can be surprising, shocking, or eerily familiar and relatable.”
Sawad Hussain and Nariman Youssef introduce a selection of contemporary female voices from the Arab world, challenging mainstream tendencies to generalise and make assumptions about both women’s experience, and the language with which they express it.