Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Juli Zeh Meets Her Translators

I've written before about the regular get-togethers between German writers and their international translators at the Straelen translation house. This time around it was Juli Zeh, who met up with eight translators of her sort-of science-fiction sort-of novel Corpus Delicti. English-speakers will be pleased to hear that unlike last time, when the book in question was Uwe Tellkamp's Der Turm, there was an English translator among them: Sally-Ann Spencer - hooray!

You can see them all looking gorgeous here. And the regional press also took an interest, with an informative article in the Rheinische Post and a fun one in Der Westen. What I find particularly interesting is Zeh's relaxed attitude to her translators changing things - particularly titles and characters' names - "to take the novel all the way to their own countries."

And although these events are obviously really fantastic for the translators involved - imagine the chance to spend a week working on a book with the writer herself at arm's reach - I like to think the authors get something out of them too. Not just the reassurance that the translators really will have understood the book, but also a lot of new knowledge about all the countries it'll be appearing in.

I'm certainly looking forward to reading Sally-Ann's translation - not least because I once met Juli Zeh and mistook her for someone else. She was very gracious about it all.

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