12 June 2007

More translation goodness

Scott Esposito has a couple more translator interviews over at his place, with more on the way. Even before "Reading the World" (and the emphasis placed on such work this month), there's always been a lively interest in translated literature in the litblogosphere. It's wonderfully encouraging.

Katherine Silver, translator of Jorge Franco's Paradise Travel:
Paradise Travel is narrated by the main character, whose subtly idiosyncratic voice—part idiot savant, part idiotic innocent—gives the novel unity and depth. Finding and maintaining that voice in English was perhaps the most overarching challenge. I also enjoyed working through the linguistic dilemmas arising from the interpenetration of cultures/languages (Spanish here, English there, Spanglish everywhere) and among dialects in Spanish (Colombians trying to understand Mexican Spanish, for instance).
Karen S. Kingsbury, translator of Eileen Chang's Love in a Fallen City:
The cinematic analogy works because literary texts are usually loaded with visual and aural imagery: we can think of this material as existing “inside” the text. The musical analogy works because even a silent reader voices a text internally, and thus hears some set of phonic qualities, which usually have a considerable, though subtle influence on whether or not the literary experience is “good” or not. This phonic experience is largely, though not entirely “outside” the text. Thus, a literary translator has to go “inside” the original text, grab all those images and ideas and whatnot, then come back out and set up another “external” linguistic structure that that can contain and convey that material while still sounding good. And the goal, of course, is to not only “sound good,” but to sound somehow similar to, or at least analogous to, the original.

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