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lundi 12 avril 2010

Why Translation Matters (English)

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie. Une traduction en français sera publiée demain.

Edith Grossman is a leading literary translator, who has translated Spanish works by renowned authors, such as Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat.

Grossman has now written her own work, Why Translation Matters, just published as part of the Yale University Press series, Why X Matters.


The publisher’s book description reads:

Why Translation Matters argues for the cultural importance of translation and for a more encompassing and nuanced appreciation of the translator’s role. As the acclaimed translator Edith Grossman writes in her introduction, “My intention is to stimulate a new consideration of an area of literature that is too often ignored, misunderstood, or misrepresented.”

For Grossman, translation has a transcendent importance: “Translation not only plays its important traditional role as the means that allows us access to literature originally written in one of the countless languages we cannot read, but it also represents a concrete literary presence with the crucial capacity to ease and make more meaningful our relationships to those with whom we may not have had a connection before. Translation always helps us to know, to see from a different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and as individuals, we have a critical need for that kind of understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.”

Throughout the four chapters of this bracing volume, Grossman’s belief in the crucial significance of the translator’s work, as well as her rare ability to explain the intellectual sphere that she inhabits as interpreter of the original text, inspires and provokes the reader to engage with translation in an entirely new way.

An interesting review appears in the NY Times Sunday Book Review of April 11 and may be read at:


Grossman participates with other translators on a two-hour video presentation entitled The World of the Translator at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-2t0go72xc

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