Monday, March 06, 2006

We can live with them just fine, thanks

Here's an article about a translator who challenged The New Yorker to include his name in an article about the author he's been translating from Norwegian into English. They quoted Lyngstad's translations in their lengthy article... and then said that including his name would make the article too "cluttered".  The quotes didn't seem to clutter anything... so why would citing the translator who wrote the words?

Apparently some NY editors need to be brought up to speed, because it's not okay to pretend that translation just happens by some magic alchemical process. And maybe some of those editors missed reading "The Translation Wars", a long article by David Remnick, the New Yorker's editor-in-chief, on Russian translator Constance Garnett.

Thanks to Lucas Klein for passing this along to ALTA... and to Liz Andrews for providing the contact info for translators and authors to write to The New Yorker in protest:

Letters should be sent to or by fax to (212)286-5047,
and should include the sender's name, address and daytime phone number.

J. Peder Zane's article ends with a somewhat weak statement, "All of which reminds us of the central paradox of the relationship between readers and translators: We can't live with them, and we can't live without them."  We don't have to live with them - we just have to not erase their existence, and give them credit for their work. Surely it's not *that* hard to do. 

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