How the pandemic has widened the opportunity to take translated literature to readers

The fear and uncertainty created by the deadly invisible pathogen permeated at first our public spaces and our physical boundaries and then, slowly but perceptibly, our homes, our conversations, our skins, our souls, and our hopes. For a while, it seemed as if survival was the only mother tongue in a country of more than [...]

By |2020-10-27T14:29:27+00:00October 27th, 2020|India, Indian Novels Collective, Literature, Translation|0 Comments

A tiny Indian publisher is translating hidden gems of world literature for global readers

“It isn’t about size. Or the scale. It is about the choice. The instinct that allows you to take the risk to step outside the structures the world of corporate publishing has so magnificently set up. And publish books that in your opinion need to be read.” The mission statement of Seagull Books says it [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:21:53+00:00July 7th, 2017|India, Literature, Publishing, Translation|0 Comments

How do you translate classic literature for contemporary readers?

“The idea of the classic is invested in a particular model of history, one that allows for a perpetual tension between the enduring and the transient, and for the survival of the past in ways that are comprehensible even to a radically different present. This comprehensibility is not immediate or unmediated, but involves acts of [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:21:55+00:00June 26th, 2017|Language, Literature, Translation|0 Comments

Women writers’ work is getting lost in translation

Britain now has a record number of female MPs, more women are on company boards, and work is being done to encourage more women to take up science. Yet women still aren’t equal to men. And if we think in terms of intersectional feminism – the connections between different multi-layered facets of oppression such as [...]

Baloch literature is the repository of love and romanticism

Sometimes it is argued that the only poetry written in Balochistan is about resistance. The term poetry of resistance is often associated with the poetry penned by Baloch writers. While the Baloch intellectual class oppose this hype, they recount how love and war have always gone side by side in Baloch history. It is not [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:22:01+00:00May 28th, 2017|Balochi language, Language, Literature|0 Comments

The Rise of the Global Novelist

When Cities of Salt, an Arabic novel by Abdelrahman Munif, was published in translation in 1988, John Updike reviewed it for The New Yorker. “It is unfortunate,” Updike remarked, “given the epic potential of his topic, that Mr. Munif, a Saudi born in Jordan, appears to be—though he lives in France and received a Ph.D. [...]

Amazon expands its literary horizons, making big imprint in translation niche

The literary translation community in the U.S. has a tradition of being highbrow, a carefully tended yet narrow reflection of the stirrings of global culture beyond the Anglosphere. Then jumped in, like a whale into a koi pond. Armed with financial might and an intimate, machine-learned knowledge of reader behavior, the e-commerce giant made [...]

The subtle art of translating foreign fiction

Last year, I decided to treat myself to a new copy of Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan, a novel I have loved ever since I first read it as a teenager, and whose dreamy opening line in its original translation from the French by Irene Ash – “A strange melancholy pervades me to which I [...]

Homer’s The Odyssey: challenges for the 21st century translator

Homeric word-order is unusually accommodating towards its English equivalent. Verbs usually come where you expect them, adjectives sit near their nouns. Compared to, say, the complex structures of a Pindaric ode, or the elliptical one-line exchanges of dramatic dialogue, Homer’s largely paratactic progression of ‘…and…but…when…then…’ presents his translator with few immediate problems. I found this [...]

The 200 Happiest Words in Literature

There are six main types of stories in fiction. That’s what computer scientists found after teaching a machine to map the emotional arc of a huge corpus of literature. The overall research they did is fascinating (I wrote about it in greater detail here), but several smaller components of the work are compelling in their [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:22:33+00:00July 15th, 2016|Language, Literature, Words|0 Comments