Tag Archives: Literary translation

In Conspiracy with Dante: Maria Massucco Interviews Translator Mary Jo Bang

To mark the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, Stanford Professor Robert Pogue Harrison and graduate student Donatella D’Aguanno orchestrated a panel that brought poet and translator Mary Jo Bang together in conversation with Emeritus Professor Marjorie Perloff. I saw the occasion as an opportunity to ask this most creative and skilled wordsmith a few questions about her process, her relationship to Dante, and her place in a long line of Dante translators.

Time Out of Joint: Sandro Veronesi’s “The Hummingbird,” Translated from Italian by Elena Pala

In Sandro Veronesi’s second Strega Prize-winning work of fiction, we follow the protagonist, Dr Marco Carrera, a Florentine ophthalmologist, as he stumbles through a life strewn with miscommunications, misjudgements, and misfortunes.

A Plague for Our Times: Albert Camus’ “The Plague,” Translated from French by Laura Marris

It is impossible to read The Plague now without thinking of COVID-19 and its globally catastrophic and ongoing wreckage. With Laura Marris’ new translation, we have a text for the twenty-first century. I hesitate to write “for a new generation,” as accurate as that may be, because even those of us who’ve read Stuart Gilbert’s translation can find new meaning, new life, in Marris’ extraordinary translation.

A Band of Translators: In Conversation with the Turkoslavia Translation Collective

ollective of literary translators—Sabrina Jaszi, Mirgul Kali, and Ena Selimović—working from Turkic and Slavic languages. In this interview, the members of the collective discuss how they met, why they formed a translators’ collective, and their current projects.

The Built-in Approachability of Culture in “Well-Versed: Exploring Modern Japanese Haiku,” A Haiku Anthology Edited by Ozawa Minoru, Translated by Janine Beichman

After Basho and his immediate disciples, haiku gradually fell out of artistic favor in Japanese society until Masaoka Shiki revitalized it as a respected art form in the late 19th century. “Well-Versed” captures everything that has happened since, with 300 haiku written from around 1900 to the present day.

Stumbling Through the “Foreign”: A Look at Poupeh Missaghi’s Poetics of Translation

Although “trans(re)lating house one” is presented to us in English, Missaghi insists that Persian is the true language of its characters and city. The book was ‘translated’ from Persian to English, then, before it was ever written. For this reason, throughout her novel, Missaghi seeks to “acknowledge the Otherness of both the territory and the language to you, make them visible, and celebrate them” (35).

The Poetics of the Fluid Self: Mónica-Ramón Ríos’ “Cars on Fire,” Translated from Spanish by Robin Myers

Arguably, reading literature in translation can be compared to a leap of faith. Faith in the skilled voice and resources of the translator, faith in the power of the narrative to work its spell independently of the linguistic code it is set to traverse. Ultimately, faith in language itself to create for us a world we can inhabit, for as long as the reading experience lasts. “Cars on Fire,” in Robin Myers’ eloquent English-language rendition, provides just that. Through a succession of 18 stories written originally in Spanish by Mónica Ramón Ríos, we are allowed into an uncertain space that is both alluring and unsettling. It questions our sense of the immovable nature of the self, uncovers the precariousness fabric of identity and the complex, double-edged power and frailty of human connections.

On the Pleasures of Reading and Translating Women Writers: An Interview with Dorothy Potter Snyder

It is not for us as translators to smooth the way, to explain, or to make things easier for the English language reader. Translators have to trust that good readers will prefer to work a bit harder rather than be denied the chance to experience the writer’s voice as directly as possible.

A Phone Call, and A Revelation: Sasha Naspini’s “Nives,” Translated by Clarissa Botsford

By Olivia Soule In Sacha Naspini’s Nives, translated from the Italian by Clarissa Botsford, the significance of the long phone call that lasts almost the entire novel creeps up on you. Towards the beginning, the elderly, eponymous widow calls the local veterinarian when one of her chickens has become frozen in place; this everyday conversation […]

On Being the Middle Voice: Maria Massucco Interviews Translator Clarissa Botsford

I find Botsford’s engaged and voice-driven translation style wonderfully refreshing and the diversity of her collaborations intriguing, so I was thrilled by the chance to talk with her about her recent work, her take on the Italian-English market, and her approach to the craft.

Transcending Censorship: Gabi Reigh Interviews Magda Carneci, Author of “FEM”

In this interview, Magda Carneci talks to Gabi Reigh about the poetic dimensions of her prose, the writers and artists who have inspired her feminist vision and what it feels like to read your work in translation.

Translation as Capitulation: Mario Martín Gijón’s “Sur(rendering),” Translated from Spanish by Terence Dooley

Surrendering, giving in, letting go: if Martín Gijón’s poems stage, at the formal level, the poet’s handing over control to language itself, letting etymology and morphology steer his associations, their thematic content also underscores the role of rendition as an act and attitude of romantic love. Dooley, in turn, manages to strike a fine balance between the translator’s obsessive pursuit of the original’s meaning in the target language, on the one hand and, on the other, the acceptance of the original’s ultimate elusiveness.

Comforting Revelations: Juana Rosa Pita’s “The Miracle Unfolds,” Translated from Spanish by Erin Goodman

By Kristin Dykstra In this historical moment when many readers are turning to poetry for traditional words of comfort, a new bilingual edition from The Song Bridge Project will meet that need. The Miracle Unfolds: Selected Poems (2010 -2019) presents excerpts from seven books by Juana Rosa Pita, with English-language translations by Erin Goodman. As […]

Take me to the Pity Party! Anke Stelling’s “Higher Ground,” Translated from German by Lucy Jones

Resi’s written reactions to her circumstances eventually reveal that her chaotic and humorous take on motherhood is a vehicle for her to obsessively explain and justify the catastrophic falling out she had with her group of closest friends.

“The Drinkers”: An Excerpt from Domenico Starnone’s “Via Gemito”

My position is all wrong. The water will forever spill onto the tomatoes, the plate, the cloth. My father placed me in a position where, even with Luigi reaching as far as he can, I will never be able to pour the water into his glass.