Lit & Found: Interview with a Reluctant (Award-winning) Translator

On her substack “Corners of the Mind,” Katerina Michael talks to Katharine Halls about all things Arabic-English translation. They touch on Katharine’s journey to Arabic and translation, her approach to the domestication-vs-foreignization debate, and the role of the translator, with Katharine explaining:

I’m not an intermediary who is going to say “footnote here. This is what this means.” With the kinds of texts I work with, I think it’s really important to respect the reader and respect their intelligence. If something is hard to understand or if something is challenging to whatever attitude they might have, you as a translator cannot necessarily explain or fix all of that. Right? You can also let them go and look it up. You can also let them think about it and maybe it will be something that sits a bit uncomfortably with them and they will go and talk to people about it, find out more about it. This means respecting the reader enough and not trying to make something so clear and so comprehensible for them that they don’t have to do any work to figure it out.

Be sure to read the full interview here for all of Katharine’s fascinating insights!