Friday, 18 July 2008

That List... and Advice for Neophyte Literary Translators

Top US translation person Esther Allen has added her take on the UK Translators' Association list of fifty outstanding translations at the Guardian's book blog. She's not the first person to comment on this list by far, so I'd say it's certainly achieved the aim of provoking debate.

My favourite bit in Allen's piece is this:

The British list of top translations includes many, many American names, some of them overwhelming me with nostalgia: (...) the astonishingly polyglot Michael Henry Heim, whose enormous talent and generosity has inspired generation after generation...

I'm with her all the way there - Michael Henry Heim once sent insignificant little me a wonderful little document entitled "Advice to neophyte literary translators". And I am hugely impressed by what I've read of his translations. For more advice, neophyte literary translators could also look at the "Translators' Tips" at no man's land.

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