Art Works Blog

NEA and literary translation

"[L]iterary translation demonstrates that human beings everywhere have more in common than their differences, confronting as we do the shared joys and anxieties of existence, identity, mortality, and consciousness itself." ---George O'Connell Today the NEA has announced 16 grants...
Pro Helvetia's exhibitor sign at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair. Photo by Ira Silverberg I was en route to meet some friends---a Portuguese editor, two Italian editors who publish a fantastic line of American writers in translation, and a Swedish agent, a pretty typical lot of the people who one...
Dan Bellm. Photo by Annie Silverstein "We owe it to each other to read world literature, to cross borders, to enter other lives and times in the way that only great writing can." --- Dan Bellm Professor, editor, translator, and poet---2013 NEA Literature Translation Fellow Dan Bellm has...
Johanna Warren. Photo by Monik Geisel "I used to do a lot of waiting...for inspiration and luck, but then I realized both of those things are like lightning, and you can either sit at home wondering, 'Why haven't I been struck by lightning yet?' or you can cover yourself in...
David Hinton. Photo courtesy of Mr. Hinton "I treat a translation as a poem of my own, with the complication that it needs to correspond to an original." David Hinton is one of 16 literary translators newly selected to receive fellowship support from the NEA to translate works of...
Washington, DC How do you translate something that makes perfect sense in one language but, if taken literally, would be gibberish in another? That is the dilemma that faces all translators of literary work, but especially so for Natasha Wimmer, who recently handled the translation of two of...
Washington, DC "Brocante de Meylan" by Filipe Ferreira via Flickr Is translation an art or a science? If it's true that something is lost in translation, is something also gained. Why bother to translate literature from one language to another anyhow? For answers to these questions...
Washington, DC Esther Allen. Photo by Caroline White Esther Allen. Photo by Caroline White Since 1981, the NEA has awarded 323 literature translation fellowships for works in 61 languages from 71 countries. Today we announced $300,000 in 20 fellowships for fiscal year 2011. This year's projects...
Red Hook, New York "We translators work on our own so much that we sometimes forget our work is being read by others, so the fact that other translators judged my work as important and worthy of an [NEA] grant means the world to me."---NEA Literature Translation Fellow Charlotte Mandell...
Washington, DC Unai Elorriaga's novel Plants Don't Drink Coffee was one of the few Basque works translated into English this year?okay, it may well be the only Basque work translated into English this year. Despite a strong oral tradition of storytelling, few literary books in Basque?a...