Sunday, 14 September 2014

Ten Books I Would Like to Translate

I got tagged, and seeing as I've been obsessively reading and then totally judging everyone by their lists of ten books that changed their lives or whatever it is – jeez, did you stop reading at fifteen; if I hate that book must I now hate you; would you please stop posturing and admit to reading trash now and then; OMG, Jeffrey Archer changed your life, really? – I thought I just wouldn't expose myself to the imagined ridicule of it all. But then I felt bad, so here is my personal cop-out: ten books I would like to translate. Some of them are books that lots of other people would like to translate as well, but I figured this is like fantasy football league, right, so you can just go for ridiculously unlikely things. I know that me translating many of these books, in real life, would piss off other translators, but this isn't real life. Most of the links are to my own reviews.

1. Clemens Meyer: Im Stein
It's just not going away. There's a reason it's at the top of the list.

2. Dorothee Elmiger: Schlafgänger
Actually, if all goes well I will be translating this one.

3. Annett Gröschner: Walpurgistag
Hundreds of voices on one day in Berlin.

4. David Wagner: Leben
Neither fish nor flesh, gorgeously written.

5. Lutz Seiler: Kruso
Except it would be really, really hard.

6. Teresa Präauer: Für den Herrscher aus Übersee
This one has a lot of admirers though, like the Seiler book.

7. Daniela Dröscher: Pola
I'd dress up in evening gowns every day.

8. Anna Seghers: Der Ausflug der toten Mädchen
Surprise! A dead white woman.

9. Selim Özdogan: Die Tochter des Schmieds
An old favourite.

10. Sven Regener: Magical Mystery
Because I translated a sample earlier this year and it was great fun and a real challenge to get the tone right. I saved it up to translate on my birthday. I don't think that's sad, or no sadder than a lot of other things.

If you'd like to join in the melancholy fun, you too could make a list of ten books you'd like to translate. You could put it online and post a link in the comments section. It might go viral and everyone who speaks two or more languages would be doing it.


Ani said...

What a great idea! I'm all inspired now to put together my own list...

Helen MacCormac said...

Don't you need to nominate people, though?

Helen MacCormac said...

This actually feels quite monumental - it could be the unabashed list of translators and books we've all been waiing for, with links to NBG and Goethe Institut if they were willing, but with no external edit required because any translators posting would want to look after their own profile in an ordinary social network way...

Helen MacCormac said...

On a buzz: the really big thing is just how much people might be prepared to do for free in order to make a book happen.

kjd said...

Great, Ani!

Helen, I think you can nominate yourself, but it would be good to have a list of lists with links.

There was a less fanciful idea a while ago, written about here:
I think there are drawbacks to being entirely earnest about it, though, because of the many many times when several people adore the same book.

Mytwostotinki said...

The Excursion of the Dead Girls was translated by Elizabeth Rutschi Herrmann and Edna Huttermager Spitz and included in their edition of German Women Writers of the Twentieth Century, Pergamon Press, 1978.

kjd said...

Ah, that's good to know. It seems to be pretty much out of print and fetching highish prices, plus the publishers' info I can access paints a different picture of Anna Seghers to her reception thirty-five years later, so I think even in real life – rather than just my imagination – a retranslation and reissue of this one very special piece of writing would make sense.

Douglas Irving said...

It seems Alberto Manguel had a go at translating Seghers's sublime story - published in 1995 by Coach House Press, it also seems to be unavailable, but perhaps this is a good thing, as it was given the English title 'The Outing of the Dead Young Girls'. Horrible, horrible.