The Observer Translation Project Roundtable

By Bud Parr

Words Without Borders ReviewsThe Observer Translation Project just posted a roundtable discussion on our favorite topic, including our very own Susan Harris along with Chad Post of the Three Percent blog and Open Letter publishers, as well as translator Susan Bernofsky whose translation of Yoko Tawada’s The Naked Eye I just read (and will soon comment on).


Here’s an excerpt with Chad honing in on an aspect of reading books in translation that many of us face:

This sounds really bad, but in a roundabout way, I’m motivated by my monolingualism. After college I fell in love with Latin American literature—especially Cortazar—and started trying to revive my Spanish so that I could read the dozens of books I’d heard about, but which had yet to be translated. By the time I got serious about this though, I was off and reading a ton of French Oulipo books. Then titles from Eastern Europe. I’ll never be able to speak a dozen languages (like translator Michael Henry Heim does), so I have to rely on English publishers to make available all the great books being written around the world. Probably just an ADD thing, but by not specializing in one language/literature, I feel like I can indulge my roaming interests, and look for books to publish from Asia, then Latin America, then France, then the Nordic Countries, etc., etc.

Read the rest at The Observer Translation Project


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