• Christopher G. Moore

The Art of Translation

With my books translated into eight languages, the subject of translation and translators is one that I find of considerable interest. In England, The Telegraph has a good article on the subject. In The United States and England, translations remain a small part of the fiction market. Though the trend is clearly toward more translation of crime fiction into English.

I’ve had the good fortune to meet and work with a number of my translators, including my German translator Peter Friedrich and French translator Pierre Richard. Both are excellent writers in their own right. They used their considerable skills as writers to translate a number of the Calvino novels, and this has increased the audience for the series. Peter has translated two Calvino novels: Zero Hour in Phnom Penh and Cold Hit. Pierre translated Zero Hour in Phnom Penh into French.

Both have been “extraordinarily sensitive readers.”

“What makes a translator? More important than anything, says Wynne, is the need to be "an extraordinarily sensitive reader". This matters more, for example, than where, when and how a translator picks up the language. Academia is by no means the only route in. Some discover the language by marrying into it, like Parks or Mankell's translator Laurie Thompson.

Thompson was once advised by an old hand that "if you are going to be any good as a translator, you must have the approach of a writer and be able to use the English language like a writer". Vladimir Nabokov, who ruthlessly patrolled the border between the Russian classics and the English language, would doubtless agree.”

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