For #WomenInTranslationMonth we thought we’d let one of our uber-passionate translators introduce the author she’s translating for us. We’ll be publishing Now and at the Hour of our Death next Autumn - but you can receive your copy (and our undying love) months in advance if you subscribe!
Agora e na hora da nossa morte follows journalist Susana Moreira Marques as she attempts to report on a project of palliative home care in Trás-os-Montes, in the Planalto Mirandês. Susana writes about death in a way no journalist ever has and in a range of generic registers: travel notes, standard narrative, stream of consciousness, interviews, as well as what seem to be personal confessions. Rather than erase herself from the text, as most journalists would, she guides us through her impressions and transformation during her experience “at the end of the world” (or of Portugal) and of life.
The Business of Literary Translation, or #ETN14: A Day of Nuts, Bolts and Whistles, And A Toolkit in the Making
by Rosalind Harvey, translator of our own Juan Pablo Villalobos (Down the Rabbit Hole, shortlisted for the guardian First Book Award, and Quesadillas). Her co-translation of Enrique Vila-Matas’ Dublinesque was shortlisted for the IFFP and longlisted for the IMPAC. Her most recent translation is Elvira Navarro’s The Happy City - perfect for #WITMonth!
When I co-founded ETN almost three years ago with Anna Holmwood and Jamie Searle Romanelli, after an excited discussion at the Free Word Centre, we wanted to create a new space for early-career literary translators. The Translators Association, or TA – the subsidiary group of the Society of Authors that acts as a kind of union for translators – provides an essential and excellent-value service for those of us who are lucky enough to have a contract to do a book, and I would urge any translator to join it once they are in a position to do so.
But Anna, Jamie and I felt there was a gap: what about all the eager would-be literary translators, or not-quite-yet translators (proto-translators?) who did not yet fulfil the criteria to join the TA, but who nonetheless still required answers to their many questions and the backing of a supportive network of peers and colleagues? We wanted this space to be a place where members could ask questions that perhaps some members of the TA hadn’t had to ask themselves for a while: how do I write a reader’s report? What IS a reader’s report, even? What exactly happens throughout the whole process of seeing a book go from something much-loved on your shelf to a fully-finished translation with your name on the cover? What else does a translator do, aside from re-creating texts in another language? How do you let publishers know who you are and work productively with them? Does literary translation pay? And how can I ensure I’m getting the best deal, for the book, for the author, and for myself?
Chahdortt Djavann was born in Iran, but now considers herself French and writes in French since she has lived in exile in Paris since 1993. She is a champion of womens’ rights and a self-professed rebel, and has published nine books, both fiction and non-fiction. “La muette” was published by Flammarion in 2008.
It has been a bad year for women (was it ever any better?) — India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Gaza, Sudan, Iran, Iraq — too many countries, too many horrors to mention. Via the media, we all have images in our heads that we would rather never have seen, but the reality is that many women live extremely hard and often brutal lives. Thanks to writers like Chahdortt Djavann, fictional treatments of this reality can open our eyes in a different way.
As an And Other Stories subscriber, I was sure to read Nowhere People; but because this work has been expertly negotiated into English by Daniel Hahn, one of my favourite translators, it went straight to the top of my to-be-read pile. Seeking out Hahn’s translations has led me to any number of excellent writers … such as Paulo Scott.