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Archive for May 19th, 2010:


With New Prize, a Bit of Limelight for Young Translators

posted May 19, 2010

Posted by Erin Brown in translation world literature

harville secker 

As Tim Parks, author of Translating Style (revised edition, 2007), remarked in the Guardian recently, the work of the translator is neither glamorous nor lucrative. Even the most talented translator usually remains anonymous unless s/he has the good fortune to work with a literary superstar, like Salman Rushdie or Umberto Eco.

Indeed, Parks argues, the unwritten rule seems to be that the translator should remain anonymous, as neither the author nor the reader of a foreign language work wants to be reminded that the translated text is only a mediated version of the original:

The translator should do his job and then disappear. The great, charismatic, creative writer wants to be all over the globe. And the last thing he wants to accept is that the majority of his readers are not really reading him.

His readers feel the same. They want intimate contact with true greatness. They don’t want to know that this prose was written on survival wages in a maisonette in Bremen, or a high-rise flat in the suburbs of Osaka.

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