Category: On Reviewing Translations

February, 2014

Name the Translator

Recently two of my Facebook friends posted links to reviews of their work that neither named nor noticed them. This would be inconceivable if my friends were authors, film or stage actors, or artists, but my friends are translators, so not being mentioned is par for the proverbial course. Add this latest…...

April, 2011

On Reviewing Translations: Scott Esposito

To my mind, the problem is simple: reviewing literary translations is full of thorny issues and difficult questions, and I am as suspicious of anyone who claims to have answered them as I am of someone who tells me they know what art is. But! Which reader of Words Without Borders would say that right…...

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 won’t…...

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 the…...

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 already…...

March, 2011

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, conversation…...

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 languages that…...

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 would any…...

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 my feelings…...

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 stressed…...

- top -