28 June 2008

The art of the translator

“As a translator I know that there is a fascination in living at such close quarters with a writer, engaging with every word they wrote, trying to make another text which is worthy of the original. But there is also a melancholy of translation. Compared with other writers, translators feel undervalued. It is not so much that they are badly paid (this is a problem they often share with those they translate) as that they are downgraded, damned with faint praise, criticized in passing and, unkindest of all, ignored. All are aware, and if they weren’t critics would remind them, of the inadequacy of their efforts – ‘the translator is a betrayer’ goes the old refrain, unthinkingly.”

– Peter France, The Art of the Translator

[Citation: Peter France on the Art of the Translator, Oxford University Press website, about Peter France’s The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation.]


Clara said...

Very refreshing way of seeing what we do....thank you for sharing.

You can see my professional translator profile at Language123

Clara Smith

runawaysun said...

@ Clara
Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog.
I regret that, for so many years, although an avid reader of translated works, I had overlooked, and perhaps even discounted, the role of translation and translators.
I don't know if you write your own blog, but it would be interesting to read a blog about a translator's life.