Tim Parks slags some prominent Italian-English literary translators and praises some lesser-known ones in the New York Review of Books:
The problem is that it is hard for the wider public or even the critics really to know whether they have been given a good translation, and not easy even for the editors who have the duty of choosing the translator, fewer and fewer of whom have appropriate second-language skills. So the inclination is to consign the book to a translator who has some reputation, deserved or not, and be done with it. In particular, there is a tendency to privilege those who gravitate around the literary world, as if this were some kind of guarantee of linguistic competence. It is not.
But the general question remains: why, as long as is Ronald McDonald is hiring, would you want to be a literary translator?
- The worst translator in the world? “Quoth she, so much I hate this nation, / I’ll damn this author in translation”
The London Magazine, 1734:
Verses occasioned by Mr. Budgel’s modest Proposal, in the Daily Post-Boy of Aug. 31. to give the Publick a new and accurate Translation of a late celebrated French Treatise, on the Causes of the Grandeur and Declension of the Romans, and which has been already translated.
Dulness, good goddess, chanc’d to
- The economic case for fucked translation
Via LS an anonymous cartoon of the gulf between what we (would like to) think we have said and what we (are understood to) have actually said:
Why don’t we say what we think? Why do the inventors of magnificent flying machines gibber like madmen? Why, in our case, do excellent Spanish bars produce hilarious English menus?
I think …
- Almería’s LGTB collective to their Polish and Italian counterparts: Let’s integrate us!
No sooner has one bankrupt tribe finished subsidising with someone else’s money a visit by the billionaire Vicar of Christ when an opposing but equally impecunious clan pops up to proxy-finance solidarity tourism by the Spawn of Satan, no less, who might also have been able to pay for it themselves.
But the really bad news about …
- Unnacompanied into the woods?
The other day someone gave me the (impeccable) English translation of Gabriel Tortella’s classic El desarrollo de la España contemporánea. Historia económica de los siglos XIX y XX. I don’t really understand why he uses 1900 to divide the period in two – on the basis of most of the indicators he cites, a tripartite split …