The following are famous quotes on translation (mostly!) from Literary Translators, translation colleagues, authors, and other famous speakers. All of these wise words have been of inspiration to us as we strive to achieve excellence in what we do.
Take a minute to go through these pieces of wisdom, and you will understand what our work is all about!
Translation can take as long, or longer, as writing the original book. The art (...), is more than finding the appropriate word. Translation is about words and music, fidelity and feel, the balance between getting too caught up in the literal meaning and improvising so freely that the author's voice is lost entirely.
—Grossman, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Translator
You can soon work out whether literary translators have a flair for language, or a poetic sensibility, and if they do you know you can trust them. They are going to do the best job they can to capture the tone and spirit of your novel, and find the most appropriate stylistic equivalents to your phrases and expressions. Your literary reputation is in their hands.
—Nigel Farndale (Author of six books, including The Blasphemer, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Novel Award)
Literary translation allows me the privilege of ‘writing’ novels I could never imagine, of attempting to find a voice for authors and their characters, of working with the nuts and bolts of language to try and recreate narratives I love and admire.
—F. Wynne (Irish literary translator)
Translators are double authors, their brain works twice as much.
—Vesna Aleksic (Serbian author)
Language and literature are two of my favourite things in the world. Being involved with them on a daily basis is like heaven. While translating the last few pages of Luis Sepúlveda’s Un Viejo Que Leía Novelas de Amor I remember getting misty-eyed, both from the intensity of the text and that liberating relief of finalizing a translation. In a sense such an experience shows how intimate you tend to get with the text during the translation process.
—E. Imre (literary translator from Turkey)
Hearing extracts from my books in other languages is always like listening to something familiar yet foreign.
Translation is a difficult but creative work.
—Sahar Delijani (Author of novel, Children of the Jacaranda Tree)
I love focussing on the nitty-gritty of language, and even the fairly repetitive aspects of translating don’t bother me. (Yes, I’m a confessed dictionary-basher.) I also usually enjoy the creativity that’s often required in making mental leaps, although on some days this can be rather strenuous...
—W. Firth (Australian literary translator)
Literary translation is creative work without anxiety: it gives me the chance to build off an existing thing, to make something new that’s both mine and the author’s without having to deal with that terrifying blank page.