At the end of last month, three writers -- Mona Kareem, Deepak Unnikrishnan, and Krupa Ge -- talked about translation, transience, the Gulf, belonging, and more.
"Translation is not a field of instant (or even delayed) validation. Mostly we do the work and leave it in the proverbial drawer for months or years, or we send it out into the world and hear nothing (or just murmurs) back. So classroom work offers a nice change."
"For instance, the Palestinian society is more familiar with references to Christianity than the Turkish society. ... So while translating Darwish's works, I brought the references to verses from the Bible or the Torah to the attention of Turkish readers."
"I wanted to see if I could create a night-language, or find some form to reflect the fact that this is a night work...and the fact that these stories take place where dreams should be."
“There were no publishers targeting that region alone," di Pietro told ANBA, "so we thought it would be really cool if we could represent a culture that’s so important, including for the Portuguese language.”
"Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea in my head. Other times I ravage entire books looking for the spark of a joke. I have read more widely on the subject of medieval Baghdad this spring and summer than I have since grad school, and this has been time very well spent."
"There are quite enough experts, prophets, and talking heads analyzing the Middle East, but I think our job as translators is to not get in the way of authors expressing themselves by editing, interpreting, and adapting their work."
For the first time, one of the "PEN Translates" awards will go to a South Sudanese novel.
spotted lion, tense/ tired of lockdown/ take the cheetah hunting?/ wait and pine/
"Often being literal -- or almost literal -- is the best way to do it. So I try to let the Arabic guide me. I'm also a translator who often leaves quite a lot of Arabic in the text, and I have to come up with ways of explaining that but without being heavy about it."
"We compare ourselves to others who are worse off, but for me the minimum wage would be a dream. At Angoulême [comics festival] comics artists talked a lot about how they lived under the poverty line."
"We wanted to think about how to change this landscape: in terms of the abysmal working conditions of Egyptian translators and of market-driven production[.]"