A brief interview with Edith Grossman about her approach to translation. Interesting, if brief.
IDEAS: Do you read much work by other translators?
GROSSMAN: It’s difficult, but that’s part of the trick of translating – to be able to leave your ear neutral enough so you can hear the first language, and know your own language well enough so you can echo it.
GROSSMAN: When I’m working I prefer to read contemporary American and English fiction. It gives me an idea of what’s possible. Aside from the fact that I’m addicted to novels, reading great fiction broadens my own repertoire of responses to a text. Gregory Rabassa said that when he was working on “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” some ninny asked him if he knew enough Spanish to translate it, and his answer was that the real question was whether or not he knew enough English. He hit it right on the head.
IDEAS: As you translate a book into a different language, how do you separate your own voice from the author’s?
One thought on “Interview with Edith Grossman at The Boston Globe”
Thank you! Over on the Arabic-language side, we have perhaps too many academics obsessed with specific meanings and history and cultural context (I mean, sure, all lovely things), but what about a love of language, and of books?
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