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April, 2011

New MLA Guidelines on Evaluating Translations

The Modern Language Association has posted new guidelines for evaluating translations as scholarship for tenure review.  Building on previous publications by ALTA and PEN, and drawing on the report of the academic working group at the Salzburg Global Seminar 461, the document offers...

From the London Book Fair, Day 3

In a morning session at today’s London Book Fair, Daniel Hahn asked a group of translators and translation advocates what it is exactly that makes a good translator. An “open-ended and impossible” question, he hastened to add, but one that at least needed to be considered by the...

From the London Book Fair: Myths and Myth-busting

Some welcome myth-busting about translation today at day two of the Literary Translation Center.  During the opening session, called “Translation Intelligence: Surveys, Reports, Statistics—What’s the Story Behind Them?,” Jonathan Heawood, director of English PEN,...

From the London Book Fair—Translations and Liquidity: Crises and Capital

The first day of the Literary Translation Center at the London Book Fair has first and foremost been about asking questions.  This is because one of the organizing themes of the day—and a refrain among the handful of panels held—has turned on one of the biggest issues facing...

2011: Year of Milosz!

Over the past few weeks, New York has begun to celebrate the centenary of one of Poland’s—and maybe the world’s—greatest poets, Czeslaw Milosz,as the “Year of Milosz” kicks off. With nationwide and worldwidereadings, remembrances, and exhibits, the year is...

On Reviewing Translations: Suzanne Jill Levine tells us what the “Subversive Scribe” might add:

Throwing one’s hat into this ring can be a two-edged plume, mark my mixed-up metaphor.  If we, wearing our translator hats (though not many of us can afford hats), tell reviewers that any adjective, from “brilliant” to “clunky,” unjustified by examples, just...

On Reviewing Translations: Confessions of a Book Reviewer (of works in translation)

There is an anecdote about translation—which, fittingly, I´ve only come across second-hand—that involves an enthusiastic Ernest Hemingway gushing to a friend that finally, with a new translation of War and Peace, he can get through the whole novel.  His friend then says, of...

From Saigon to Quebec: Kim Thuy

Kim Thuy was born into privilege in Saigon in 1968 and fled ten years later with her family. After a harrowing crossing in the hold of a fishing boat and a miserable stay in a Malaysian refugee camp, the family settled in Quebec. Thuy's Ru, from our May 2010 issue, recounts these experiences...

This

This poem is dedicated to my friend and colleague Juliano Mer Khamis, born in Nazareth in 1958 and Artistic Director of the Jenin Freedom Theater. He was tragically shot by unknown assailants in Jenin yesterday as he was leaving the theater. His two-year-old son was in the car with him. Juliano...

On Reviewing Translations: Rigoberto González

With so few titles getting translated into English, it seems ludicrous to impose too many conditions in terms of matching a book reviewer to a translated project, or even in terms of determining whether a translated project is worth reviewing. The sad fact is that those of us reviewing books...

The Explosion of the Radiator Hose by Jean Rolin

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The connection that a reader forges with a first-person narrator varies tremendously from book to book, depending on the degree of intimacy or detachment elicited, on how convincing or charming or grating we find the voice, on how seduced, manipulated, or outraged we find ourselves. Sometimes,...

March, 2011

Baseball Springs Eternal

It was afternoon on Friday, March 11, 2011.  I was in the office at my home in Sendai, working on a manuscript I had just started.  Spring is the season of new beginnings.  In Japan, graduation ceremonies in March are followed by matriculation ceremonies in April.  For...

On Reviewing Translations: Lorraine Adams

Like many American-born English speakers, I have an unhappy story to tell about my ignorance of the rest of the world’s languages. It begins in my youth when I spent eight years studying Latin. This rendered me well-versed in Vergil, Horace and Catullus, but unfit for modern literature,...

Fragments of Sappho

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The Greek poet Sappho, who lived on the island of Lesbos from around 630 BC, was a singer and songwriter who wrote nine volumes of verse lyrics. Of all this work, only one poem has survived intact. Yet she is remembered more than two millennia later. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sapphois a...

Getting Personal and Universal in Joseph Roth’s Job

As translator Ross Benjamin said during his discussion with The New Republic‘s senior editor Ruth Franklin this past February at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Job: The Story of a Simple Man was “a turning point for Joseph Roth.” Not only did Job lead up to his...

On Reviewing Translations: Tess Lewis

Being on the receiving as well as the dealing end of reviewing literature in translation, I’m particularly sensitive to the issues involved. More than three quarters of the reviews and essays I’ve written over the past decade have been about translations, a number of them from...

film icon Poeboes Podcast with Daniel Hahn

Daniel Hahn (1973 - ) is a British writer, editor and translator from the Portuguese and Spanish. His translations include works by José Eduardo Agualusa, José Luís Peixoto and José Saramago. In 2007, his translation of Agualusa's The Book of Chameleons was awarded...

On Reviewing Translations: Susan Bernofsky, Jonathan Cohen, and Edith Grossman

This document was submitted to Words Without Borders for our series On Reviewing Translations, based on a collaboration between the three contributors that had been initiated prior to solicitation. SOME THOUGHTS FOR REVIEWERS OF LITERARY TRANSLATIONS You ought to review a translation as you...

The Writer and the Screenwriter: An Interview with Domenico Starnone

Domenico Starnone has written for film both directly and indirectly: he has over a dozen screenplays to his credit, and has had one of his novels, Denti, turned into a film. This interview was conducted on e-mail. The questions were translated into Italian by Marco Candida, and Starnone's...

The City and the Writer: In Brooklyn with Tina Chang

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Special City Series / New York City 2011 If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains....

The City and the Writer: In Queens with Irina Reyn

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Special City Series / New York City 2011 If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains....

Jonathan Blitzer’s Film Picks

Les Cousins Claude Chabrol This dark, eerie—and stunted—coming-of-age story has been following me around for months since I recently saw it for the first time.  In a word, it’s the story of an idealistic French provincial who has come to Paris to study law; we know...

On Reviewing Translations: Daniel Hahn

I’m a translator, whose translations get reviewed regularly in the mainstream press; I’m also a reviewer who reviews translations regularly in the mainstream press. In probably more or less even numbers, I’d guess—for each one I get, I write one, give or take. Inevitably...

New Series: On Reviewing Translations

This week, we are launching a series to explore the ways that book reviews handle translations. Reviewers and translators each have varied opinions on how translations should be discussed, and on who should be doing the discussing. At a recent panel on the future of book reviewing, review editors...

The Romance of Diva

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The first time I saw Diva, I was about the same age as Jules, the French mailman, opera enthusiast, and thief who is its hero. Most likely I saw it at the intimate and old-fashioned Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, one of the places I miss most about Cambridge. Diva is a highly romantic movie,...

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