Articles for Literary translation

Translation can be a political act when is used to give a voice to under-represented groups and challenge gender stereotypes

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village The act of translating a text, of making it available to people who can’t read the original language, is a political statement in many different ways: what works are chosen to translate, or not to translate, who should translate, what ...

Dainas, four-line Latvian poems created over 1,000 years ago, are getting a new major English translation

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Like haikus in Japan, Latvia has its own poetic form, dainas, four-line poems that are either sung or recited. The origin of dainas, which have historically been transmitted orally from generation to generation, is still uncertain. The first dainas were ...

Diversity, equity and inclusion may be the real issues at stake in the debate around the Amanda Gorman translation

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village “One of the more unexpected twists of an unprecedented year is that the little-known business of literary translation has become a source of public controversy”. This is how the Los Angeles Times comments the heated debate around the translation of ...

A new wave of exophonic writers with a migration background is reshaping and enriching the language of their country of adoption

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village The term “exophony”, which is the practice of writing in a language that is not one’s own, is quite recent. It was introduced to cultural and literary circles in 2007 by linguists Prof. Dr. Susan Arndt, Dr. Dirk Naguschewski and ...

Dilemmas translators face with Romance languages, where every adjective betrays more information than in English

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator, as well as founder, in 2017, of the TA First Translation Prize, awarded annually for a debut literary translation and shared equally between writer and translator. In a recent entry for his ...

Children’s classics in translation can contribute to nurturing threatened languages and bringing dormant ones back to life

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village A growing movement of language activists, cultural stakeholders, and scholars across the world is seeking new ways to preserve endangered languages and bring dormant ones back to life, through everything from digital dictionaries and apps, to cultural events such as ...

Tokarczuk’s translated works have opened up life changing opportunities for her and helped boost Polish literature

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Jennifer Croft is best known for being one of the English translators of Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk. It is thanks to Croft’s English translation of the novel Flights that Tokarczuk made her international breakthrough, first with the  International Man Booker ...

Exophonic writing offers authors the chance “to cloak themselves in a different language, and thereby culture”

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Exophony is the practice of writing in a language that is not one's own. Some exophonic authors are bilingual or multilingual from their childhood years while others write in an acquired language. Although the phenomenon is not new the term ...

After centuries of “colonized” English translations of the Bhagavad Gita a Canadian scholar restores it to its original meaning

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Hindu scholar and linguist Jeffrey Armstrong has spent the past 10 years translating and “decolonizing” the Bhagavad Gita, one of India's most famous epic poems, written 5.000 (some say 7.000) years ago. His work was published this month with the ...

British scholar Emily Wilson’s fresh and contemporary translations of the Greek classics discussed at a recent Yale University event

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village In Emily Wilson's translations of the classics the Greek goddess Demeter has “cornrows in her hair”, Achilles is described as a “superhero”, and Odysseus, when disguised as an old, homeless man, carries a "tote bag"...(1) Wilson’s innovative approach to the ...

Russian literary classics set in 2020: updates to Russia’s greatest books

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Fiona Bell is a literary translator and scholar of Russian literature, based in Oxford. She won a highly competitive fellowship from the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) in 2018, and her translation of Natalia Meshchaninova's Stories received a 2020 PEN/Heim ...