Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Translators' notes

I've long thought that there's not enough writing out there by translators about specific knotty problems in texts. You can track them down sometimes in the prefaces of books, and there's always one's own experience to draw on, but one can never have too many examples to hand of real problems which have come up in authentic translation contexts, especially in a translation class with seven language pairs represented.

So I was delighted when the Translators Association's excellent journal In Other Words added an 'in brief' section where translators discuss fascinating questions such as how to translate 'del rancho de la chingada' in Mexican writer Juan Pablo Villalobos' Down the Rabbit Hole (Rosalind Harvey in issue 39) or the kind of relationship known as a 'Bratkartoffelverhältnis' (Anthea Bell in issue 40, on translating Eugen Ruge's In Times of Fading Light).

And now I am very very pleased to see that there's a new wordpress community, Brouillon, dedicated to the same thing - short pieces by translators about very specific words and phrases that proved a problem in translation, and how they got solved. So far, all the posts are, predictably enough, about fiction translation but it seems to be open to all sorts of translation (screen translation, anyone?).

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