We are thrilled to nominate the following six articles published during the past year for the Pushcart Prize. Please join us in giving a round of applause to both the authors and translators behind these incredible pieces.
At 997 words, Pedro Novoa’s devastating short story, “The Dive”, won Peru’s “Story of 1,000 Words” contest. Translating this nautical thriller cum family saga into English, George Henson made it an Oulipian exercise by keeping the English text under 1,000 words as well. Shimmering with poignancy, the multi-layered story delivers a powerful allegory about the blood ties that bind even when broken—the concatenation of islands we will nevertheless always be.
“To translate means, therefore, not only to exercise extreme vigilance over the movements of the original text, but above all to scrutinize the limits of one’s own language, as it creeps up to the original.” Via co-translators Rebecca Falkoff and Stiliana Milkova, Anita Raja’s magnificent essay frames “Translation as a Practice of Acceptance ” and argues that the translator’s greatest resource must be her own inventiveness.
Our resident translation expert Daniel Hahn is back with a response to the hotly debated issue of how and where to credit translators’ work. This question comes from Michelle Loh in Singapore.
Why aren’t translators’ names on most book covers? Are you for or against this practice of keeping translators’ names hidden?
Some people believe that readers are scared of translations. They assume—whether rightly or wrongly—that a reader is more likely to pick up a book whose front jacket reads
Title of Great Novel!
than a book whose front jacket reads
Title of Great Novel!
Name-Of-Awesome-Novelist, but actually not really because I’m afraid it’s been translated by Unrecognisable-Translator-Person so it’s probably quite obscure and kind of foreign and anyway you know what translations are like (LOL!) and tbqh you can’t even really be sure of what you’re getting…
(I paraphrase, slightly.)
Their argument, then, is that translations are hard enough to sell as it is without your having to remind people that the book is a translation before they’ve even picked it up. There are plenty of publishers I like very much who make this argument, and I do understand. I do think it underestimates our readers, but where most publishers are concerned I really don’t see this as a lack of respect for the translator’s work.