The WAAT Sessions is a new series of video conversations about literary translation. In WAAT Session 01, the German author Mithu Sanyal and the literary translator, Alta L. Price discuss their author-translator collaboration process for Alta's English translation of Mithu's novel, Identitti.
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.)
MARCH 18, 2022: Cultural and contextual differences matter a great deal in literary translation because they can change the meaning of the text entirely. If you're a translator, you already know what this difficult word is, don't you? Hint: you use it so often that you probably don't even register this as a difficulty. In… Continue reading 11. One of the Most Difficult Words to Translate in Any Language
In 1993, I’d moved to Berlin, Germany to work at Siemens for a few months as an engineering apprentice. My job in the quality department involved doing all kinds of destructive and non-destructive testing procedures for defects, from hairline cracks to incorrect dimensions, in gas turbine components. And I had to do it all in a language that I had barely studied in the two years prior. So, while I was making my way around Berlin, getting hopelessly lost in eastern and western German dialects and all the immigrant slang that had made its way into them, I was also trying to decipher convoluted compound words from technical German manuals and reports.