Our Editor at Large Sophie Lewis reports from Paraty, Brazil
Brazilian author José Luiz Passos (Zé) - photo courtesy of Kate Griffin.
I was excited to be asked to attend the bcltuea’s latest translation school. These are week-long affairs, held all over the world, that bring together translators working with English and at least one language associated with wherever they are. BCLT invites one select group of translators to work from English into the other language(s) and another equally select to work from the other language(s) into English. Often people working in the field show up to observe and comment, perhaps to help, perhaps to complicate. These include academics, more experienced translators, publishers, editors. Always in attendance are the writers of the texts that are being worked on.
Katy Derbyshire is the translator of All the Lights by our very own Clemens Meyer. She’s currently working on a 927-page(!!) novel by Jan Brandt, while her most recent project weighs in at the other end of the scale - David Wagner’s Berlin Triptych, available from Readux Books.
For obscure reasons, literary translation is officially hot – to riff on Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit, it is badly paid but sexy. It’s a thing people want to learn. Over the past three or four years I’ve been asked to lead several workshops on literary translation, at various levels and in various places. Every time I do it I die a thousand deaths, never knowing whether I’m doing it right. And then along came bcltuea’s Summer School Summit, which, we were told, would “bring together experienced literary translators from the UK and around the world who are interested in translation workshops and teaching methodologies.”
Brand new short fiction by Montague Kobbe, inspired by Brazil’s loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final. As well as translating from Spanish (fans of futbol-related fiction should check out The Football Cronicas), Montague’s first novel The Night of the Rambler, is published by akashicbooks, and reviewed here by Jethro Soutar.
El Negro sat on the far corner of the half-empty bar, sipping unperturbed from his bottle of Brahma Chopp, quietly going over the details of what had just happened. He was almost unrecognisable in his grey suit and pressed white shirt, short hair gelled back in the style of the other Negro, Andrade, twenty years before him. Four times. Four times, Negro. Qué barbaridad. He shook his head lightly as he contemplated the magnitude of the achievement. The frost on the bottle of beer soon turned into a dew that flowed, like tears, down the face of the green glass. And we’re but a little country, che, a tiny little country. Four times champions of the world, Negro. Can you believe it? And he couldn’t.