While the English-speaking world flips out over Edith Grossman's Why Translation Matters and Tim Parks' ode to the (oddly male) translator, Germany is having its own epiphany.
My fellow translator, fellow blogger, fellow book-lover and all round jolly good fellow Isabel Bogdan now has her own column in the rather good online publication Titel-Magazin. You can read all about how hard it is to translate refrigerator, what translation does to translators, and how translation is a performative art. And this week Isa's hat-string's gone and popped, as the Germans say.
Did the translation fall from the sky? A translation has appeared to us, hallelujah? No, it jolly well did not! Someone spent months working on it, you idiots! Excuse me, but it's true. Someone struggled and wrestled, slogged away, brooded, researched, chained herself to her desk, conferred with the author and the editor and in the end survived only on coffee and cigarettes so that Germans can read a book, and what then? First she gets a pretty damn modest fee, and then: "Finally out in German." "Now in a new translation." "Read by." Well, thanks a lot.
It's in German, by the way.