Contributors: Translator

Karim Emami

Karim Emami (1930–2005) was a highly regarded translator and editor. Generally considered to be one of the most important translators of contemporary Iranian poetry into English, he was also famous for his translations from English to Persian, with credits such as The Great Gatsby. Born in Calcutta, he grew up in the southern city of Shiraz in Iran. He studied English literature at Tehran University, and went to the United States in 1953 for graduate work in English literature at the University of Minnesota. Emami worked as a journalist in Iran for many years, contributing to a wide range of fields including film, photography and art—in the 1960s, he was a great champion of the new generation of Iranian painters. He also became an authority on the Persian language, and was at work on a major project at the time of his death, a Persian-English dictionary that would address the expansion of the Persian language due to the shedding of Arabic loan words and the incorporation of neologisms to reflect new ideas and concepts. In 1967, he became editor in chief at Franklin Books, and later started a publishing house, Soroush Press, as well as the Zamineh bookstore in Tehran (with his wife Goli, also a translator), which became a sort of intellectual salon. His translation of "Another Birth," Forough Farrokhzad's long poem, is regarded as a classic. Emami's essays on the craft of translation are collected in Az Past-o-Boland-e Tarjomeh (The Ins and Outs of Translation).