AUGUST 26, 2022: Here’s a set of links to translation-related essays, interviews, podcasts, virtual events, submission calls, and more to start the working week. READ/WATCH: The Most Spoken Languages 2022 (Statistics and Data) READ: Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda On The Importance of Deep, Imaginative, Listening (Electric Literature) READ: Culture Shock: Reassessing the Workshop by Leanne Ogasawara (The… Continue reading 34. Some Interesting Links
Earlier this week, I read a book review where the reviewer applauded the translator's choices to domesticate certain cultural references in a recent book to ensure that English readers who were not from the source culture would still be able to get the humor. If you've been following me for a while, you know that, as a fiction writer myself, I'm not at all keen on watering down or hyping up cultural references in any kind of writing. That is to say, I'm not for sanitization to appease readers who may be unfamiliar with a particular culture and I'm not for exoticization to appeal to readers who love to see certain tired tropes and stereotypes in particular cultures (see my 2021 roundup of #mangodiscourse.) So, when I asked a question on Twitter about foreignization versus domestication, I knew it was a sensitive issue among fellow translators that would bring out a range of responses.
Long before the idea of even becoming a literary translator professionally had occurred to me, my idea of what exactly being a literary translator meant came from reading the notes or introductions to translated novels. Looking back now, I see how much the good ones were like masterclasses in themselves. If you're a reader of translated works, you will likely have your own favorites. I'll share a handful of mine below but let's talk very briefly about why these matter at all.
I had other plans for this week's topic. But the news of this morning about the attack on the author, Salman Rushdie, has left me a bit shaken. No, I don't know him and I've never met him. But I've probably read every book, every essay, and every interview of his. And all his tweets from 2017-onward when I started following him there. It's curious how a writer can have so much impact on your reading and writing life. I wouldn't even say he was among my top three favorite writers (although, among desi or South Asian writers, he's definitely at the top.)