Sunday, March 30, 2008


Last night, Phyllis Aronoff, president of the Literary Translator's Association of Canada, invited members to her place for a potluck supper and to read selections of their work by candlelight. A friend of mine suggested that being in a roomful of literary translators would be like being in a roomful of well-groomed cats. There was some truth to that speculation; of the fifteen or so people who were there, most were, I'd say, professional translators for whom literary work can only serve as icing on their cakes. All were well-read, cultured, and pleasant, and there were some delightful creatives among them to delighten the mix. The seven people who shared their work read very poetic prose, if not poetry. Beautiful stuff! Naturally, I read some of my translations of Santos, and I'm gratified to say they were well received. It seems this is an annual affair. I look forward to next year's.

Hate to say it, but the LTAC site gets my vote as possibly the ugliest on the web. I know literary translators frequently complain about being invisible; this kind of visual presentation pretty well ensures that! Time for an upgrade, obviously... in the meantime, the art of literary translation remains (to use a Buddhist metaphor) a hidden wish-fulfilling jewel that could bring peoples together and kindle refreshing trends if brought into the light. Earlier remarks on cultural diplomacy (see label below) are a propos.

Apr. 22: Just got a note from Howard Scott, the webmaster of the site, acknowledging that the site is very dated, but that redoing it is always being put off due to lack of time...

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