How to Translate Anything

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m teaching a new course this semester, with a title I have borrowed (with permission) from Benjamin Paloff at the University of Michigan. “How to Translate Anything” is a course I have been threatening to teach for many years, and I’m finally doing it, beginning on Monday of… Continue reading How to Translate Anything

Those Taciturn Swedes

Prepping for my spring course “How to Translate Anything,” I came across this insight from David Bellos in his Is That a Fish In Your Ear?: Filmmakers dependent on foreign-language markets are well aware of how little spoken language can actually be represented in on-screen writing. Sometimes they choose to limit the volubility of their… Continue reading Those Taciturn Swedes

Box No. 26

As I mentioned in my legacy post last week, some of the books in the Heim collection are labeled with both Michael’s and Priscilla’s names, often with a date. Others have Mike’s name only. Quite a few, it turns out, have only Priscilla’s name in them. Their home library was a collective affair, with titles… Continue reading Box No. 26

Legacy

Priscilla Heim, Michael Henry Heim’s widow, was looking for a place for his books, and I volunteered to take them and find homes for them. Seventy-six boxes showed up last week, and I started going through them on Friday. As some readers of this blog will know, Mike was my teacher at UCLA, a mentor… Continue reading Legacy

Translation, Exile, and ALTA

The annual American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) conference, the virtual portion of which is taking place this weekend, always makes me think deeply about translation. After a roundtable today organized by Diana Thow and Jamie Richards, which left me feeling stimulated but also isolated and nostalgic for the in-person ALTA conferences of the past, I… Continue reading Translation, Exile, and ALTA

Translating Identifying As

(Available as a podcast here.) This is a very strong essay by my friend Alta Ifland at East West Literary Forum. It becomes especially powerful when one reads the Russian translation by Tatiana Bonch Osmolovskaya, where the key phrase “identify as” feels as strange and culturally specific as Ifland claims. The meta-phenomenon she identifies (not… Continue reading Translating Identifying As

Kin praise from the music world

A friend from across the country sent me a note today to say that Marissa Lorusso and Lyndsey McKenna’s NPR music newsletter had plugged my translation of Jergović’s Kin, which made me say what!? Here’s what seems to have happened. They contacted a handful of their favorite musicians and asked them to tell them about… Continue reading Kin praise from the music world

People and Achievers

As I think through ways of rendering the language and feel of Notes from Underground more effective for younger readers of English today, it occurs to me that, just as chelovek should often be “person” rather than “man,” so too the frequent references to the U-Man’s listeners as “gentlemen” (which is the ubiquitous translation in… Continue reading People and Achievers

Autumn Hill Books’ new website and new titles

Our hosting platform was out of date and non-secure (didn’t have the “s” by the “http” in the URL), so we needed to remake it. The site just went live yesterday, and we’re still working out the bugs, but please have a look at the new features and the new books in the past couple… Continue reading Autumn Hill Books’ new website and new titles

Translating Gender Pronouns

This is a tough topic, mostly because languages are currently in a great deal of flux as they figure out how to deal with the preferences of individuals with regard to expressions of gender and gender identity. The issue is complicated by the myriad different ways that languages mark gender. In some, all nouns have… Continue reading Translating Gender Pronouns