The Good News of Translation


Thanks to __________, I  Was Able to Read_______’s  _________  [Language]


Richard Fein, Yankev Glatshteyn, Selected Poems [Yiddish]
Hillel Halkin, Sholem Aleichem, Tevye the Dairyman [Yiddish]
Nili Wachtel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Meshugah [Yiddish]

Martha Collins and Thuy Dinh, Lam Thi My Da, Green Rice: Poems [Vietnamese] 
Mobi Ho, Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation [Vietnamese]

Cedric Belfrage, Eduardo Galeano, The Book of Embraces [Spanish]
Andrew Hurley, Reinaldo Arenas, The Color of Summer [Spanish] 
John Lyons, Ernesto Cardenal, The Origin of Species and Other Poems [Spanish]
Samuel Putnam, Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote [Spanish]

Alexander Burry and Tatiana Tulchinsky, Anna Politkovskaya, A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya [Russian] 
David Floyd, A. Anatoli (Kuznetsov]  Babi Yar: A Document in the Form of a Novel [Russian] 
Constance Garnett, Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace  [Russian] 
Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Leo Tolstoy, Hadji Murat [Russian]
Bela Shayevich, Svetlana Alexeievich, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets [Russian]

Clare Cavanagh, Adam Zagajewski, Another Beauty [Polish]
Joanna Trzeciak, Wisława Szymborska, Miracle Fair [Polish]

Meredith McKinney, Sei Shōnagon, The Pillow Book [Japanese]

Jessica Cohen,  David Grossman, A Horse Walks into a Bar [Hebrew] 
Peter Cole, Aharon Shabtai, War & Love, Love & War [Hebrew]

Richard Lattimore, Homer, Iliad  [Greek]
Robert Fagles, Homer, Odyssey [Greek]

C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past [French]
Charles Wilbour, Victor Hugo, Les Misérables [French]

Reinhold Grimm, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Lighter Than Air: Moral Poems [German] 
H. R. Hays, Bertolt Brecht, Selected Poems [German]

David Hinton, Ti Fu, Selected Poems [Chinese]
Burton Watson, Chuang Tzu, Basic Writings [Chinese]

Ibrahim Muhawi, Mahmud Darwish, Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982 [Arabic]
Elizabeth Winslow, Dunya Mikhail, The War Works Hard [Arabic]



The following are from Edith Grossman’s Why Translation Matters (Yale University Press, 2011).

Translation not only plays its important traditional role as the means that allows us access to literature  originally written in one of the countless languages we cannot read, but it also represents a concrete literary presence with the crucial capacity to ease and make more meaningful our relationship to those with whom we may not have had a connection before.  Translation always helps us to know, to see from a  different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and individuals, we have a critical need for that kind of understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.  xi 

The very conceit of world literature as a discipline fit for academic study depends on the availability of translations. 13

Translation is crucial to our sense out ourselves as serious readers, and as literate, educated men and women we would find the absence of translations to read and study inconceivable. 13

Translation expands our  ability to explore through literature the thoughts and feelings of people from another society or another time.  14

[Gabriel García Márquez] absorbed Faulkner in translation…. These books, and all the other books he read, had a defining impact on his formation as a writer and allowed him to read as an apprentice to authors who in fact served as long-distance mentors. 19

Translation is, in fact, a powerful, persuasive force that broadens and deepens a writer’s perception of style, technique, and structure by allowing him or her to enter literary worlds not necessarily found in one national or linguistic tradition. 22

I can think of no other profession whose practitioners find themselves endlessly challenged to prove to the world that what they do is decent, honorable, and, most of all, possible.  65



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