Sometimes saying yes can be just too dangerous – the translator is drawn into an ethical dilemma or puts their life at risk.
For a fascinating discussion of this issue with experts in the field, get to the literary translation session on what not to translate, at the London Book Fair next Tuesday.
The translators know what they are talking about. If you can’t make it to London, you can find their work online, and what fascinating work it is:
And you can search the Treasury of Lives, edited by Tenzin Dickie, a biographical encyclopaedia of significant figures from Tibet and the Himalayan region, a special project of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.
These translators are not afraid of “risky” material from areas of conflict: but the discussion on Tuesday will also consider the commercial ethics of translation – and if you’re thinking about that online, NoPeanuts is a good place to start.