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Friday, October 13, 2006
Lost and found in translation
Here's a good idea. The reader of a literary translation, or any book for that matter, holds in hand a bound volume, sold in a bookstore, forever cataloged by the Library of Congress. A book conveys the impression that it is a finished product, a work that cannot be other than it is. But literary translation, like writing itself, is a messy process, full of false starts, blind spots, and dead ends.
Wouldn't it be interesting to see the notes of a translator at work--writing and revising, questioning himself, consulting other sources, digressing...? And now we have Translator's Notes, a project devised to accompany the book editor Lorin Stein's translation of Gregoire Bouillier's "The Mystery Guest." I hope the site, or at least the idea, lives on for future translations.