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Planet Word's grand, dimly illuminated library.
Planet Word. Photo © DuHon Photography
Planet Word: Exploring a New Language Museum in Washington, DC
By Tal Goldfajn
Languages are particularly challenging to exhibit physically in museums—how then to tell the story of our most precious forms of intangible cultural heritage in a tangible form?
Portraits of Jason Grunebaum and Pia Sawhney
A New Translation Prize: The Armory Square Prize for South Asian Literature in Translation
We want to showcase the best translations from South Asia, and help make visible authors, translators, and literature that are still largely invisible outside of South Asia.
Left: Mohammed Hasan Alwan; Right: William M. Hutchins
The National Book Award Interviews: Mohammed Hasan Alwan & William M. Hutchins
By the Editors
“I thought he was in search for something meaningful and, thus, he was exposing himself to conditions he hoped would light the way for a coming revelation.”
Portraits of Jon Fosse and Damion Searls
Left: Jon Fosse, photo by Tom Kolstad Samlaget; Right: Damion Searls, photo by Beowulf Sheehan
The National Book Award Interviews: Jon Fosse & Damion Searls
By the Editors
“To me writing is an act of listening. And if I am writing well then what I write will necessarily be new to me as well. Writing is a journey into the unknown.”
Portraits of Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mitsutani
The National Book Award Interviews: Yoko Tawada & Margaret Mitsutani
By the Editors
“We’re living in a world where both languages and people are constantly in flux. In this novel, I wanted to focus on a small group of people making their way through that world.”
Portraits of Saša Stanišić and Damion Searls
Left: Saša Stanišić, photo by Katja Sämann; Right: Damion Searls, photo by Beowulf Sheehan
The National Book Award Interviews: Saša Stanišić & Damion Searls
By the Editors
I started working on [the book] in 2016 when my grandmother was showing the first serious signs of dementia. I wanted to create an archive of sorts, in which her life was told in stories.
Portraits of Mónica Ojeda and Sarah Booker
The National Book Award Interviews: Mónica Ojeda & Sarah Booker
By the Editors
I always say to myself that Jawbone came to me as a nightmare, a vision full of fear and desire, but I really can’t remember how it started.
Portraits of Samanta Schweblin and Megan McDowell
Left: Samanta Schweblin, photo by Alejandra Lopez; Right: Megan McDowell, photo by Camila Valdés
The National Book Award Interviews: Samanta Schweblin & Megan McDowell
By the Editors
I’m always a little amazed at the subtlety of Samanta’s language, how much she can convey in so few words—that hasn’t changed over all the books of hers I’ve translated.
At left face of French language translator Mark Polizzotti and at right face of French Rwandan...
The National Book Award Interviews: Scholastique Mukasonga & Mark Polizzotti
By the Editors
“One thing that makes 'Kibogo' such a compelling work is the critical distance it maintains from all the power structures it describes.”
September-2022-International-Translation-Day-Feature
From left to right: Nicholas Glastonbury, Sawad Hussain, Yilin Wang, Stefan Tobler
What Comes after #NameTheTranslator?
By Yilin Wang, Stefan Tobler, Sawad Hussain & Nicholas Glastonbury
When we celebrate the increasing visibility of translation, we should also ask about what languages and literatures—and, consequently, what human experiences—are afforded visibility.
Mara Faye Lethem alongside the Catalan and English covers of Learning to Talk to Plants
Birthing a Translation: The Author as Midwife
By Samantha Schnee
I’ve always felt that my commitment is to the text, not the author, but it is wonderful to be able to ask for and receive permission.
The Milky Way is pictured above Earth's atmospheric glow blanketing Earth's horizon
Photo by NASA, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Czech Enough
By Jaroslav Kalfař
Home is an ever-changing aspiration, not a truth or guarantee.
Portrait of writer and translator André Naffis-Sahely
Photo copyright © Nina Subin
The City and the Writer: In Los Angeles with André Naffis-Sahely
By Nathalie Handal
It’s sun-kissed, industrial, god-fearing, gas-guzzling, all of it built on a harrowing history of lynch mobs and expropriation.
The Story of a Notebook
By Sergio Chejfec
One is drawn toward handwritten manuscripts because, unlike more mediated forms of writing (whether produced by typewriters, word processors, or automatic transcription tools), they alone retain the signs of hesitation.
Translated from Spanish by Jeffrey Lawrence
A baby doll sits by a window
Photo by Jay Mistry on Unsplash
The Lost Translator
By Michael F. Moore
It is all the more disturbing, then, that neither Gyllenhaal in her interviews nor the film’s end credits or press kit makes any mention of the translator whose work was the basis for the script: Ann Goldstein.
A glowing diamond with light radiating from it
Photo by kirklai on Unsplash
We Need More Speculative Fiction in Translation
By Rachel Cordasco
Despite this recent wave of SFT, there are still a number of barriers preventing more of it from going mainstream in the Anglophone world.
March-2022-Triangle-Square-Interview-Ruth-Weiner-Featured
Ruth Weiner, publisher of Triangle Square Books for Young Readers. Photo © Eva Sotomayor.
Children’s Literature in Translation: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
Answers aren’t always easy to come by in the real world when you’re a kid.
Nuestra Ciudad: Writing the City in Spanish
By Ulises Gonzales
Today, a young writer working in Spanish arrives in New York City to find no shortage of role models.
Statistics
By Álvaro Baquero-Pecino
On a bad night, a train car on the red line takes more than half an hour to appear, and no fewer than twenty-one minutes to traverse the eleven stations to the southern tip of Manhattan.
Translated from Spanish by Sarah Pollack
Multilingual
The Common Good
By Sara Cordón
All she can think about is why it ever occurred to her to dress like this in public.
Translated from Spanish by Robin Myers
Double portrait of writer Jhumpa Lahiri
Where I Find Myself
By Jhumpa Lahiri
I have come to think of any “definitive text” largely the same way that I think of a mother tongue, at least in my case: an inherently debatable, perpetually relative concept.
The Thrill of Reading Obliviously
By J. R. Ramakrishnan
A translated work’s pitch is aided by comparisons.
The Comparison Game
By Laurence Laluyaux
This game of comparisons, while not always accurate, can open doors and be thought-provoking.
The Incomparable Ones
By Juan Milà
It is essential that we understand comps and are aware of their limitations.
How Can We Better Publish Black Writers in Translation?
By the Editors of Words Without Borders
This month, WWB took a look back at some of the important writing on race and racism to be found in the magazine's archives.
Publishers Need More Black Translator Friends
By Aaron Robertson
There are obstacles translators must face before the international sections of bookstores reflect the world more equitably.
Respecting the Diversity of Creativity
By Évelyne Trouillot
It would be naive to speak of editorial decisions without taking into account power relationships and established patterns of prejudice that undergird the publishing industry.
Translated from French by Paul Curtis Daw
Global Blackness: Black Writers in Translation
By Eric M. B. Becker
Engaging the evolving dialogue that broadens definitions of global Blackness.
Climates: On Environment
By Susan Harris
Global warming manifests in obvious ways.
Climate Fiction for Climate Action
By Amy Brady
No single means of communication can be solely effective, because climate change is such a “wicked” problem—it is truly planetary in scale.
Liberty and Hope
By Francisco de la Mora
So this is how it all ends . . .
Translated from Spanish by Nina Perrotta
Peripatetics: The Essays of Jazmina Barrera, Karen Villeda, and Mariana Oliver
By Charlotte Whittle
These are essays with a roving gaze whose authors travel through geographic and intellectual spaces with the same ease with which we used to walk around in New York.
Yaquina Head
By Jazmina Barrera
Robert Louis Stevenson says that to tour lighthouses is “to visit past centuries.”
Translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
We Usually Ask Literature to Be Humanizing Only When It’s from “Over There”
By M. Lynx Qualey
Our dignified survival as a species probably depends on finding ways to listen to each other.
Deciphered Desire
By Rebecca Dinerstein Knight
I soon learned that Norwegians deliver praise in the past tense.
The Poem as Epiphyte
By Fady Joudah
Hope in the right place, you said, is hope misplaced
Alms for the Versemaker: An International Appreciation of John Ashbery
By Eric M. B. Becker
One year after the passing of John Ashbery, three poets and translators pay tribute to the great American poet.
Remembering John Ashbery
By Hiroaki Sato
Ashbery fetched me a drink. I got drunk fast. And what did I prattle on about? The art of translation!
The Poetics of John Ashbery: Reflections from the Poet’s Uruguayan Translator
By Roberto Echavarren
John Ashbery wrote to be read rather than heard.
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Whittle
The Cleric and I
By Salar Abdoh
“Would I take a bullet for this man?”
Learn
The World at Home: US Writing in Translation
By Susan Harris
This issue is not a departure but a continuation.
I Am Not Your Cholo
By Marco Avilés
In San Marcos I could be poor and cholo and I didn’t have the pressure of hiding or explaining myself.
Translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Multilingual
Bahaa and Shareef Escape to New York
By Ezzedine Fishere
They didn’t get any satisfaction from coming out.
Translated from Arabic by Jonathan Smolin
Multilingual
House Taken Over
By Yuri Herrera
The house knew how to determine what was important.
Translated from Spanish by Lisa M. Dillman
Multilingual
The Madman of Bonanjo
By Alain Mabanckou
You can hang a man from a tree, but you cannot hang History with him.
Translated from French by Helen Stevenson
Multilingual
from “The Book of Disappearance”
By Ibtisam Azem
We inherit memory the way we inherit the color of our eyes and skin.
Translated from Arabic by Sinan Antoon
MultimediaMultilingual
Seven Stories
By Osama Alomar
A strange thing began to happen in the country.
Translated from Arabic by C.J. Collins
Roadkill
By Hiromi Itō
“Roadkill’s something you get used to seeing in America”
Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles
Multilingual
A Slice of Darkness
By Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar
“Why do you think they brought you here?”
Translated from Persian by Sara Khalili
After the Inferno
By Zhang Xinxin
“I’m the Girl-Homer with her eyes wide open.”
Translated from Chinese by Helen Wang
The Assassin
By Tuhin Das
Still we couldn't stop writing.
Translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha
MultimediaMultilingual
The Sound of Snow
By Khet Mar
While snow was striking the windowpanes, my ears could only hear the sound of screaming and crying from a distant land.
Translated from Burmese by Maung Maung Myint
Multimedia
That Deep Ocean…
By Ana Candida de Carvalho Carneiro
This month, we bring you the first of three winning entries in the Words without Borders - Play for Voices Radio Drama Contest.
Translated from Italian by Stephen Pidcock
There Is No Map: The New Italian(s)
By Alta L. Price
Who is Italian, what is the Italian language, and who deserves to write in it?
The Act of Naming
By Maaza Mengiste
How can we grieve for those we cannot identify?
Yiddish Literature and the Transnational Republic of Jewish Letters
By Sebastian Schulman
Yiddish literature occupies the precarious position of an informed outsider.
Sing Ladino
By Yankev Glatshteyn
Finegolden radiating, bursting— / Multicoloredthoughtingness.
Translated from Yiddish by Asya Vaisman Schulman
An Unexpected Guest
By Boris Sandler
A roaring clap of thunder and everyone’s wigs went flying through the air.
Translated from Yiddish by Sebastian Schulman
In Praise of Nonconformity: The Queer Issue
By Susan Harris
Behind the bigotry and hyperbole lurk the fear of the unknown, the threat to the status quo.
Three Microfictions
By Lawrence Schimel
It wasn’t a question of my boss finding out I’m gay . . .
Translated from Spanish by Sandra Kingery
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