“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Vintage editor on the challenges of finding a translator

http://www.vintage-books.co.uk/books/International_writing/blog/AViewfromthisBridge9/

Some translators find themselves by bringing you the project in the first place (see my blog of 29 June on how Saramago came to be published by Harvill). Of course, an editor may find themselves in the awkward position of be alerted to a book by a translator who just isn’t right for the job. Fortunately that doesn’t happen very often. If a translator with a good track record feels sufficiently passionate about a novel to persuade a publisher to acquire the rights, the chances are he or she is the right person to translate it. It is important that a translator really likes the text they are to translate. After all, they have to live with it for at least a few months, if not a year – or longer depending on the length of the book. Translators have frequently turned down my offers of work because they just don’t feel a sympathy for the book I’m proposing. As one translator wrote to me today: ‘It sings in a key that is well out of my range.’

attached to: Vintage

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