The idea behind the blog Authors & Translators – launched only this past March – is to give authors a chance to say something about the translators they’ve worked with and their experience of being translated, and to give translators a forum to talk about working with their authors. This collaborative blog has grown a lot over the past month. The blog presents a standard set of open-ended questions for each group to answer. Contributors can respond in any language, and then the blog uses Google Translate to make their comments accessible in other languages. Google Translate, as we know, is problematic, so I have mainly limited myself to sampling the contributions submitted in languages I can read, but I also note that pretty much all the authors and translators who are able to write in English tend to do so for the blog, so their remarks are accessible to readers of English without the help of a not-so-literate machine.
The most recent author to contribute to Authors & Translators is Siri Hustvedt, who reads several languages and speaks appreciatively of her translators and the profession as a whole:
I think of the profession with profound admiration. I think of all the books I have read, which would have been unavailable to me had they not been translated into English. Without translation, my literary life would have been greatly impoverished. I would have developed another mind altogether. I also feel ashamed about the tiny number of books in translation that are brought out in the U.S. by major publishers every year. This is a sign of both American arrogance and provincialism. And yet, writers continue to write all over the world, and translation goes on. I am deeply grateful to my translators for remaking my work into their own languages.