It is a well-known fact that only a fraction of literature published in English are translations – figures hover around 3–5% – and even a smaller proportion is translated literature originally written by women: only one quarter. That is why August has been declared Women in Translation Month, or #WiTMonth.
To enable you, our reader, to find our featured reviews and translations of female authors and female translators more easily, we’ve compiled them below to peruse at your leisure.
Partial Symmetries: Norah Lange’s People in the Room, translated by Charlotte Whittle, and Carla Maliandi’s The German Room, translated by Frances Riddle. Editor Rebecca DeWald has a long-standing interest in Argentine literature, and has had the rare pleasure of reviewing two female Argentine authors translated into English by two female translators. She uncovers their partial symmetries, and discusses the feeling of disconnect and displacement for a millennial generation.
‘We have to have Nora Gomringer!’ Editor Rebecca DeWald speaks to translator Annie Rutherford about translating poet and performer Nora Gomringer from German, published as Hydra’s Heads by Burning Eye Books, about feminism, fairy-tales, Jewish culture in the UK and Germany, dog leashes, kinky sex and dancing the ‘Dashing White Sergeant’.
ANTARES: Kristine Ong Muslim translates Filipino author Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles. Antares is a collection of fifty poems whose lines are created via systematic erasure and translation from English of Internet Movie Database (IMDb) descriptions involving sex scenes in films. Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles’s Antares is found art constructed from what is more or less marketing copy on a website that is part of Amazon, the largest online retailer in the world. More specifically, Antares is found poetry in translation. I essentially translated it back to English while rereading it through the lens afforded by its lyrical form, its ekphrastic-intertextual constitution, its stylized interpretation, its stark minimalist dispensation. The poems are also arranged alphabetically according to title, which I take as a nod to objectivity, an attempt to replicate the organized neutrality of a database. So, how does one set out to translate poetry engendered through all these means?
Falling for the Orient all over again: Mathias Enard’s Compass, translated by Charlotte Mandell (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017). Defne Çizakça uncovers the Orientalism in Enard’s award-winning novel and traces the history of the concept through Western literature and music.
Three Scottish (Kathrine Sowerby, William Letford, MacGillivray) and one Welsh poet (Llyr Gwyn Lewis) travelled to Riga in late 2017 to work on translations with Latvian poets Inga Pizāne, Aivars Eduards, Katrīna Rudzīte, and Henriks Eliass Zēgners. The latter then travelled back to Scotland in 2018 to perform with the UK-based poets. Some of the results of these intensive workshops are published in this series. The events were organised by Ryan van Winkle and Inga Vareva, and generously supported by the Scottish Poetry Library, British Council and Latvian Literature.
Kintija Puzāne provided bridge-translations to the Scottish and Latvian poets.
LATVIAN POETRY SHOWCASE 4: KATRĪNA RUDZĪTE. William Letford and MacGillivray present Rudzīte’s poems in translation.
LATVIAN POETRY SHOWCASE 3: EDUARDS AIVARS. MacGillivray and Kathrine Sowerby present Aivars’ poems in translation.
LATVIAN POETRY SHOWCASE 2: INGA PIZĀNE. William Leftford and Kathrine Sowerby present Pizāne’s poems in translation.
LATVIAN POETRY SHOWCASE 1: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON OUR OWN POETRY. Inga Pizāne reflects on the authorship of translation and the process of the meeting one’s poems afresh in translation.
Old Eccentrics. Pathetic Hippies: Subversion and Ecology in Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018). Marta Dziurosz highlights all the facets of “prophetess” Tokarczuk’s latest book to appear in English, a text about the animality of man and the humanity of humans.
Aesthetics of the Crepuscular: Esther Kinsky’s River, translated by Iain Galbraith (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018). We celebrate the start of #TranslationWeek with Daniel Davis Wood’s review of a meandering novel about the River Lea, which demands to be read in small doses.
Charco Press: Making Waves with Writers from Across the Pond by Isabel Adey, who gives an overview over some of the publication by new Edinburgh-based publishing house Charco Press, who specialise in Latin American literature in translation.
Faith in Greater Things: Ana Blandiana’s The Sun of Hereafter/The Ebb of the Senses, Trans. Paul Sott Derrick and Viorica Patea (Bloodaxe Books, 2017). Matt MacDonald reviews these two collections by Romanian poet Blandiana, originally published in 2000 & 2004, which have just appeared for the first time in English in one tome. Here, the poet grapples with faith and the loss thereof in many different forms and aspects.
Rules and Irrealis: The Art of Naming by Michael Ohl, trans. Elisabeth Lauffer (MIT Press, 2018). Victoria Wang explores the relationship between naming and ontological realism in the sciences.
A Bilingual Notice: Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger, translated by Natasha Lehrer and Cécile Menon. Delaina Haslam reviews Les Fugitives’ first publication (2015), a collaborative translation of a text that blends memoir with notes, fragments and scraps, while giving testament to its multilingual heritage.
EIBF 2017: A Sympathising Eye on Translation – The Man Booker International Award. As every year, editor Rebecca DeWald attended a number of translation events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. This year, however, she noticed a shift.
“Blessed is He Who Leaves”: Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017), translated by Jennifer Croft. Marta Dziurosz muses on Tokarczuk’s collection, travelling and the transitory nature of living in translation.
‘Sinister Street: Carolina Sanín’s The Children, translated by Nick Caistor (MacLehose, 2017). Jessica Sequeira reviews this slippery, dreamy novel and ponders if the language should maybe grittier to give the text more of an edge.
‘A Refuge For Complexity: Alessandro Baricco’s The Young Bride (La sposa giovane), translated into English by Ann Goldstein’. Liliya Aleksandrova yet again compares two versions of an originally Italian book: Baricco’s original and Ann Goldstein’s, the translator of Elena Ferrante’s Neopalitan Quartet, English translation The Young Bride.
‘Materiality In And After Death: Bella mia by Donatella di Pietrantonio, translated by Franca Scurti Simpson’(Calisi Press, 2016). Liliya Aleksandrova offers us the rare delight of reviewing both the Italian original and its English translation, to show the minuscule changes a text undergoes and the nuances it adapts in translation.
‘Crude Words: Creating an Anthology of Contemporary Venezuelan Writing. Katie Brown, one of the editors of Crude Words (co-edited by Montague Kobbé, Katie Brown and Tim Girven, Ragpicker Press, 2016) writes about the process of selecting and editing a “representative” selection of literature from a country rarely translated into English. With an introduction by editor Rebecca DeWald.
‘Juan Pablo Villalobos’ Tragic Surrealism: I’ll Sell You A Dog, translated by Rosalind Harvey. Ailsa Peate reads Villalobos in the context of the recent Trump election and events in Mexico, marking his happy, light-hearted approach to tragedies, his “tragic surrealism”, and focusing on Harvey’s translations as Villalobos’ voice in English.
‘Fragmented Identities: Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero Of Our Time, translated by Elizabeth Cheresh Allen.’ Alex Fleming reviews a new translation of a forgotten Russian classic with a modern heart, published by Northwestern University Press, 1840/2016.
‘On the Afterlife of Czech Surrealism: Vítězlav Nezval The Absolute Gravedigger, translated from the Czech by Stephan Delbos and Tereza Novická (Twisted Spoon Press, 2016).’ Anna Förster brings this rarely translated Czech writer of the 20th century into the context of Czech Surrealism.
‘Vampire in Love: In Conversation With Margaret Jull Costa About Translating Enrique Vila-Matas’ Short Stories.’ On the occasion of the publication of Vampire in Love, short stories collected and translated by Jull Costa (And Other Stories, 2016), Delaina Haslam interviews the great translator, OBE, whose translation brought her a nomination for the Best Translated Book Award longlist 2016 (as one of 4 [!!] nominations).
‘Swallow Summer: An Interview with Lyn Marven On Translating Larissa Boehning. Editor Rebecca DeWald interviews German translator Lyn Marven on working with Boehning and translating contemporary German literature (Swallow Summer, Comma Press, 2016).
Something Else: After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Ghazals and Other Poems by Hasan Sijzi, translated by Rebecca Gould. A review by Kevin L. Schwartz, as part of Women in Translation Month 2016, #WITMonth.
Gender, Translation, and Chasing the Authentic Voice: Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs by Lina Wolff, translated by Frank Perry. A review by Dominic Hinde, as part of Women in Translation Month 2016, #WITMonth.
Corruption Incarnate: Yuri Herrera’s The Transmigration of Bodies, translated by Lisa Dillman – by Ailsa Peate. A review of Herrera’s second book, also translated by Lisa Dillman, and an insight into contemporary Mexican and its often stereotypical portrayal in British culture.
LIKE THIEVES IN BROAD DAYLIGHT: Mathias Enard’s Street of Thieves, translated by Charlotte Mandell– By Andrew Rubens. On the refugee crisis and the “tastelessness of satire.”
THE HIGHEST EXPRESSION OF THE DIVINE: Anne Cuneo’s Tregian’s Ground, translated by Louise Rogers Lalaurie and Roland Glasser – by S.J.L.Constantine. A review of the late Cuneo’s novel about High Renaissance musician Francis Tregian in its first English translation by Lalaurie and Glasser.
ARGENTINA’S CRÓNICAS: Rodolfo Walsh’s Operation Massacre and Patricio Pron’s My Fathers’ Ghost is Climbing in the Rain – by Rebecca DeWald. Translated by Daniella Gitlin and Mara Faye Lethem, respectively. This piece on Argentine politics is the third installment in a thread of travel accounts about Argentina, literature and translation.
THE MOST ANONYMOUS AND ANGRY OF PROFESSIONS – by Rebecca DeWald. On In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means, edited by Esther Allen and Susan Bernofsky.
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: Daniel Canty’s Wigrum – by Calum Gardner. On a recently translated French novel from 2010, for fans of Perec, Calvino, and Nabokov.
TRANSLATING MULTIVOCALITY – by Anikó Szilágyi. On Writing Revolution: The Voices from Tunis to Damascus, edited by Layla Al-Zubaidi and Matthew Cassel.