Is it possible to appreciate the pleasures of foreign books, without going to the trouble of learning another language? Step forward the mighty translators, the often unsung heroes of world literature. As Penguin celebrates its 80th year with the Little Black Classics series – including 48 translations of non-English texts, award-winning translator ANTHEA BELL writes for BBC Arts about the value of translation.[ … ] One language is not enough for bookworms. If you want to read books in the original, ironically enough you qualify yourself to be a translator. There are in fact no special qualifications. I feel upset when young people write to me saying they’ve never done a post-graduate course in translation theory; can they still become translators? Translation theory is probably fun in its way, but I have never met a publisher who cared in the least whether you knew anything about it.
I spoke once to students on a post-graduate translation degree course, and Melissa Ulfane, founder of Pushkin Press, speaking next, was surprised to be asked about translation as an act of violence. Wasn’t the translator raping the original? I’d heard this before, and however tenable the idea may be in theory it is deranged in practice. The students’ next question was: do foreign authors really want their books translated into English? You bet they do. Far more books are translated out of than into English. So there’s competition, and writers definitely want to get their work sold on the huge English-language market.
Read more. Follow this link: