Thursday, May 21, 2009

End of the Relay

I was reading the 23 March edition of the New Yorker and noticed the following description of Ismail Kadare in a short book review: “Albania’s most distinguished novelist…” And yet, as the review points out, the book being reviewed was translated first from Albanian to French and then from French to English. In other words, a relay translation.

Wouldn’t “Albania’s most distinguished novelist” deserve better? Let’s face it – nearly any writer deserves a one-to-one translation, versus the multiple languages and changes involved in a relay translation. I’m surprised and disappointed that this is still so common.

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