When a word recurs as an important theme-driven motif in a story and is intentionally left untranslated, it can draw the reader's attention and make them even more alert and attuned to its various, complex meanings. And a few interesting links at the end.
Please share your favorite translated work that isn't as well-known as it should be and deserves more attention. And what small step could you perhaps take to bring more attention to it? Also, read recommendations from other readers, writers, and translators about their favorite translated works that are still relatively unknown.
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.)
Every translator's origin story is unique and personal and involves a great deal of happenstance and serendipity (as Mark Polizzotti has written). And, as I've often said before, translations in South Asia are not the same as translations in the western world. We're still trying to discover and recover our literary treasures and traditions from various languages because they'd been marginalized by more dominant cultures.
Thank you for joining this translating and writing journey. For me, literary translation is an act of love, of scholarship, and of activism. I'm hoping to use this weekly space to a) share some of the aha moments that literary translation work has afforded me and fellow translators; b) spotlight works of other translators, both established and emerging; c) encourage community dialogue around specific questions or topics (see my example at the end); d) share on any translation-related opportunities I might come across.