Art Works Blog

Notable Quotable: Esther Allen on Literary Translation as an Act of Self-Expression

"People sometimes think of translation as a kind of intellectual subservience, a master-slave relationship; they imagine that the translator subjugates his or her own creative impulses to the demands of the original text in what must be an act of drudgery and submission. But they don't think of an actor as 'subjugating' himself to a role, or a musician 'subjugating' himself to a piece of music, do they? For the musician, the score is a means of self-expression, and so is the text for the translator." —Esther Allen

The quote above is from our 2010 Art Talk with NEA Literary Translation Fellow Esther Allen. She's also one of the writers featured in our new publication The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation.


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