2016/03/16

Borrowed glory

Tim Parks slags some prominent Italian-English literary translators and praises some lesser-known ones in the New York Review of Books:

The problem is that it is hard for the wider public or even the critics really to know whether they have been given a good translation, and not easy even for the editors who have the duty of choosing the translator, fewer and fewer of whom have appropriate second-language skills. So the inclination is to consign the book to a translator who has some reputation, deserved or not, and be done with it. In particular, there is a tendency to privilege those who gravitate around the literary world, as if this were some kind of guarantee of linguistic competence. It is not.

But the general question remains: why, as long as is Ronald McDonald is hiring, would you want to be a literary translator?

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