The Bizarre Task of the Translator

Janet Malcom’s “Socks” is the latest in the healthy or interminable (depending on your level of interest) debate regarding translations of nineteenth-century Russian fiction into English. The touchstone, yet again, is Anna Karenina, which I wrote about here some time ago on the occasion of a review by Masha Gessen. The primary target of Malcom’s… Continue reading The Bizarre Task of the Translator

The Translator’s Answerability

My previous post on Masha Gessen’s review of the two new Anna Karenina translations, one each by Rosamund Bartlett and Marian Schwartz, attracted some criticisms. I’ll respond in a couple of posts to make each one shorter. John Cowan comments, “You write as if the translator had no responsibility to the author at all, and… Continue reading The Translator’s Answerability

The Translation Police arrest Anna Karenina

Masha Gessen’s review of the latest two Anna Karenina translations in the December 24, 2014 Sunday Book Review of the New York Times is a subtle example of what Eliot Weinberger once called the translation police at work. The translation police are those, according to Weinberger, “who write — to take an actual example —… Continue reading The Translation Police arrest Anna Karenina