People everywhere are raising their voices to speak out against the many things that are causing such big problems – climate change, a growing inequality, polarisation, migration, to name a few. The larger community of translators, including literary translators, have not been found wanting in this regard, even though the problems facing the translation community are admittedly on a somewhat smaller scale.
But raising one’s voice seems to be at odds with the very nature of being a translator. Aren’t we, translators, bound by what has been said by somebody else?
The new issue of Counterpoint shows that translators too can raise their voices, and in many different ways.
– How to translate words like negro in Natalia Ginzburg’s Lessico famigliare (Family Lexicon) into Swedish? Johanna Hedenberg gives an account of the conflicting values and assumptions in the debate on the translation of such heavily politicized words, and demonstrates the freedom the translator has.
– Golda van der Meer shows how translators into and out of Yiddish have played an important role in revitalizing the language and keeping it for the future.
– Magnea Matthíasdóttir tells the story of a language that, partly through its translators, ‘speaks up’ against its former colonizer by ‘icelandizising’ every word and taking them home.
– Werner Richter reports about the trying process of having the DSM Copyright Directive transposed into Austrian law.
– Francesca Novajra gives a long list of examples of initiatives taken by translators’ associations all over Europe during the last (Covid) year.
– Jennifer Croft and Mark Haddon relate how they started their #TranslatorsOnTheCover campaign, a joint initiative of a translator and a writer to persuade publishers.
– Renate Birkenhauer describes how the well-known translators’ residency in Straelen, Germany was set up as a place to meet colleagues, to do research and exchange ideas.
We hope this issue of Counterpoint inspires you to raise your voice, through literature or in whichever way you see fit.
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Counterpoint. CEATL’s European Literary Translators’ E-zine is an online publication of the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL) and is published twice a year in English and French.