Don’t translate this!

RHC BannerWhen should you say no to translation?

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:

Arch Tait’s translation of Anna Politkovskaya’s Putin’s Russia won the first English PEN Literature in Translation Prize in 2010. You can read an extract here.

You can watch Alice Guthrie’s subtitles on these ethnographic documentaries for a research project with UoL Royal Holloway “about the commodification of heritage in ‘Rebranding the Levant‘.

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.

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Posted in literature
One comment on “Don’t translate this!
  1. […] Politkovskaya’s Putin’s Russia, translated from the Russian by Arch Tait, is currently topping the voters’ […]

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