Written by some of the most distinguished literary translators working in English today, these essays offer new and uncommon insights into the understanding and craft of translation. The contributors not only describe the complexity of translating literature but also suggest the implications of the act of translation for critics, scholars, teachers, and students. The demands of translation, according to these writers, require both comprehensive scholarship in preparing to translate a text and broad creativity in recreating the text in a new language. Translation, thus, becomes a model for the most exacting reading and the most serious scholarship. Some of the contributors lay bare the rigorous methods of literary translation in comparisons of various translations of the same piece; some discuss the problems of translating a specific passage; others speak about the lessons learned over the course of a career in translation. As these essays make clear, translators work in the space between languages and, in so doing, provide insights into the ways in which a culture makes the world verbal. Exemplary readers both of authors and of their individual works, the translators represented in this collection demonstrate that the methodologies derived from the art and craft of translation can serve as a model to revitalize the interpretation and understanding of literary works.
Readers will find the opportunity to look over the shoulders of the translators gathered together in this volume an exciting and surprising experience. The act of translation emerges both as a powerful integration of linguistic, semantic, cultural, and historical thinking and as a valuable commentary on how we communicate both within a culture and from one culture to another.