Ali Smith on translators / Weidenfeld Übersetzungspreis

Letztes Jahr ging der Oxford Weidenfeld Übersetzungspreis an Denis Jackson, der nach und nach die Werke von Theodor Storm übersetzt.
Suchen Sie eine Übersetzung von Storm für Ihre englischsprachige Freunde – hier ist sie.

The winner of the Oxford Weidenfeld Prize for translation has just been announced: Magda Szabo, The Door translated by Len Rix. Here’s the shortlist.

Ali Smith (I’ve just read a novel of hers, The Accidental), who was one of the judges, writes on translation in the Times Online today.

bq. Of all the books published in the UK, only 3 to 4 per cent are translations. What’s the matter with us? Don’t we like to look at anything but ourselves? Are we so vain? Do we simply not care, not want to know what’s happening in the literatures of the rest of the world? It’s embarrassing. It’s like a terrible leftover of imperialism. Thank God for the publishers who take chances. Thank God for prizes like The Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize, an award for translations into English from any living European language, which “aims to honour the craft of translation and to recognise its cultural importance”. It’s a prize that also sets out to consider, in parallel, the heft of the original writing and the quality and importance of its translation into English.

The Times doesn’t say much about the winning novel, so here’s a review. It’s apparently somewhat autobiographical, about the relationship between a woman writer and her cleaner:

bq. Writing The Door after Emerence’s death (for which she irrationally blames herself), Szabó states: “I know now, what I didn’t then, that affection can’t always be expressed in calm, orderly, articulate ways; and that one cannot prescribe the form it should take for anyone else.” There is much in this story that will bewilder and perplex (perhaps something of the mercurial Hungarian mindset is lost in translation), but The Door is a valuable document of a vital relationship.

(Thanks to Luxus Linguae)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.