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Articles tagged "Swahili Literature In Translation"

From the Translator: On Translating Burundian Poetry

I met poet Abdoul Mtoka during the summer of 2013, in Bujumbura, when Burundian writer and literary organizer Ketty Nivyabandi gave me his phone number. We corresponded by text message, which enabled me to appear much more fluent in French than I actually am, and led to a somewhat awkward meeting over coffee at a café in downtown Bujumbura, a hodgepodge of English and French that cemented our relationship in translation. Soon thereafter, Mtoka sent me a selection of his...

Exploring Unfamiliar Territory: Translating “Poor Grandpa”

For decades I stubbornly refused to translate my own work into English.  For most of my life, I lived and worked in East Africa, the cradle of the Swahili language, so I didn’t realize how little of Swahili literature was read outside the region. I have since realized the need to share the riches of Swahili literature through translation. It also dawned on me that poor translations done by others may ruin the beauty of  the original. This point was driven home by the...

Poor Grandpa!

I never wanted to remember at all, let alone write about, what transpired when I took a walk with Grandpa to the sprawling Kariobangi slum area, that part of the slum known as Korogocho. I didn’t want to look back again, to reopen an old wound. An open sore for which there is no remedy, one that has refused to improve to a scar. An open sore. A huge open sore. It oozes with pus and discomfort, and constantly fills me with fright. However, my friends have urged me to write in detail...

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