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Should I translate?

Literair vertalen: de dilemma's

Studio B - Centrale Bibliotheek Den Haag, Spui 68, 1e etage

"As a translator you feel an affinity with the writer. It is a special bond, because you step into their shoes."
Michele Hutchison in Het Parool

Writers Unlimited presented an evening in which translators discuss issues surrounding their field. Until the fuss at the end of last year around the translation of The Hill We Climb by the American spoken word artist Amanda Gorman, the translator himself was rarely in the spotlight and translation discussions were mainly held among themselves.

What do translators think is important when they first read a text that they may be translating? Do they mainly look at their knowledge and skills, their affinity with the subject, or are identity questions the most important? Is it also a matter of privilege? What considerations does a translator make when taking on a job? Is that different from before? And what role do publishers play in this?

"If you become a translator, you are stuck. To the writer and to his language, to yourself and to your own language. But that's exactly what I want most and what I like the most. Freely swaying on the waves of one language that will always flow into the waves of the other language. And emerge from those tumultuous waters with a book under each arm."
Mariolein Sabarte Belacortu in Bzzlletin

During the program Should I translate? Daan Doesborgh, poet, translator and host of The Poetrypodcast, talked to three fellow translators about the issues that concern them when translating texts. With:
Mariolein Sabarte Belacortu - Spanish translator from the very beginning. Since 1970 working as a translator in the Netherlands of the work of, among others, Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Jorge Luis Borges.
Michele Hutchison - permanent translator of P.C. Hoof Prize winner Alfred Schaffer. Won the International Booker Prize in 2020 for her English translation of The evening is discomfort by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. She has translated work by Ilja Leonard Pfeijjfer, Esther Gerritsen and Tom Lanoye into English.
Nisrine Mbarki - is a writer, poet, columnist and literary translator. She writes short stories, theatre texts and poetry, and translates poetry from Arabic into Dutch. Her debut poetry collection Oeverloos (Endless) will be published January 2022.

Dutch program.

Event curated by Fleur Jeras (Writers Unlimited)
Books for sale courtesy of De Vries Van Stockum Books

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