Why Translators should not be Lost in Translation

lost in translation

“The translator should do his job and then disappear. The great, charismatic, creative writer wants to be all over the globe. And the last thing he wants to accept is that the majority of his readers are not really reading him.

His readers feel the same. They want intimate contact with true greatness.”

(Tim Parks)


Today I came across this article on TheGuardian.com website, and I couldn’t agree more. Let me share my own story.

When I was about 8 years old my grandmother gave me a book containing beautiful pictures and three stories in prose, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, and ‘Twelfth Night’. A few years later I discovered to my great surprise that not only were these plays written in verse, but also, and this came as in even greater surprise, I found out that originally they were in English. I guess before that discovery I had never quite registered the fact that books could come in several languages. And that is how I discovered that there were translators, and that I would very much like to become one.

It is true that readers rarely think about who translated the book they are reading, and sometimes don’t acknowledge it has been translated at all.

I recommend that you read this article, because it talks about translators, their work, and their contribution to the story, like people rarely do.

Translators may be invisible, but they don’t deserve to be lost in translation.

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