Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The trilingual (Ukrainian-Polish-German) literary magazine Radar is finally available online:


Some contents of the first "issue":

an excerpt from newest Serhiy Zhadan's novel
an interview with Bogumiła Berdychowska
Izdryk's vers libres
translated works of Mariusz Sieniewicz (PL) and Björn Bicker (DE)
Yuriy Dyachyshyn's images
reviews and current literary news

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

J. D. Salinger vs Олекса Логвиненко

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my farther. They're nice and all - I'm not saying that - but they're also also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy.


Якщо ви справді надумали читати цю історію, то насамперед вам, мабуть, захочеться довідатися, де я зв'язився на світ божий, як минало моє безголове дитинство, що робили мої батько й мати, поки мене ще і в проекті не було, - одне слово, всю оту муру в дусі Девіда Копперфілда. Та як хочете знати правду, я не маю охоти закопуватись у той мотлох. По-перше все це мені остогидло, як гірка редька, а по-друге, і батька, й матір моїх по двічі би вхопив би грець кожного, якби я почав роздзвонювати про їхні домашні справи. Вони в мене щодо цього вразливі - не приведи господи, надто старий. Загалом вони добрі, що й казати, тільки ж вразливі - страх. Та я й не збираюсь описувати тут усю свою триклятущу біографію. Я тільки розповім оту ідіотську історію, що сталася зі мною на різдво - ще до того, як я мало не врізав дуба і мене притарабанили сюди, щоб я трохи оклигав.


It's the beginning of well-known J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, firstly published in 1951. Below the original, I have posted the Ukrainian translation of the beginning. The translation was masterly completed by Oleksa Lohvynenko and was published under the title Nad prirvoyu u zhyti (Kyiv: Molod, 1984).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Edith Grossman on translation

I'm currently reading Marquez's memoir Living to Tell the Tale (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003) translated by Edith Grossman. This volume - the first out of three-tomes memoir - is an account of events happened between 1927 and 1950's. It mainly deals with Marquez's school period, work as journalist, family, and attempts of writing short stories. It ends up with his proposal to his wife.


Edith Grossman is a prolific translator from Spanish into English. Her bibliography of translated works really impresses. Looking for some infomation, I came across her speech she delivered at 2003 PEN Tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, where she said this about translation:

[...] Fidelity is surely our highest aim, but a translation is not made with tracing paper. It is an act of critical interpretation. Let me insist on the obvious: Languages trail immense, individual histories behind them, and no two languages, with all their accretions of tradition and culture, ever dovetail perfectly. They can be linked by translation, as a photograph can link movement and stasis, but it is disingenuous to assume that either translation or photography, or acting for that matter, are representational in any narrow sense of the term. Fidelity is our noble purpose, but it does not have much, if anything, to do with what is called literal meaning. A translation can be faithful to tone and intention, to meaning. It can rarely be faithful to words or syntax, for these are peculiar to specific languages and are not transferable. [...]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Michael Naydan explains the title of novel

Michael M. Naydan, English translator of Yuri Andruhovych's novel Perverzion (Northwestern University Press, 2005) which was originally published in 1997, explains in his introduction to the novel why he has opted for such variant of the title: "I have chosen the English title Perverzion with a z instead of the standard s for particular reasons. First, the novel is not just about sexual perversion, but it is a philosophical novel about different versions of narrative with both satirical and serious implications. The eminent Ukrainian linguist George Shevelov has suggested that the title Perverziia in the original historically should have been spelled with an s; in his mind it comprises a mild perversion of the Ukrainian word. Thus I feel that my slight perversion of the title in English constitutes a realized metaphor and is in the spirit of the author's design."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Владімір Сорокін про перекладачів

Владімір Сорокін про перекладачів у коментарі до своєї колонки "Время и место" в журналі "Сноб": " [...] проблема в том, что перевести можно все, что угодно: важно - как. Заурядный переводчик переводит слова и предложения. Хороший переводчик - смыслы и понятия. А гениальный переводит контекст. Но это случается крррррррррррррррррррррррайне редко."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Best European Fiction 2010

It becomes noticeable that the blog changes its mission (if one exists at all) from practical to theorical, especially starting from 2010. Of course, the blog did not have a look of place which pressumably could have been called the lab of translation. It looks, however, more like an information desk or classified pages of a newspaper. Well, frankly speaking I like it this way.

So what I'm going to write about today? I'm going to leave poetry aside (at least until tomorrow) and speak about an anthology of prose, Best European Fiction 2010 (Dalkey Archive Press, 2010), the cover of which you may observe above. The authors? There're a bunch of them - but I will speak about them later. Except for the authors and translators, the main figures are Bosnian American fiction writer, Aleksander Hemon (no, we don't have his books in Ukrainian), an editor, and British writer, Zadie Smith (yes, we do have her White Teeth in Ukrainian translation), an author of preface, who, as I understand it, took care of this valuable volume.

European poetry, the one which is not composed in English, very slowly but confidently started to move toward the expantion of English-speaking territories. Now it's a turn of prose - it's definitely worth of reading.

What is left is to name the contributors. Here they are: Ornela Vorpsi, Antonio Fian, Peter Terrin, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Igor Štiks, Georgi Gospodinov, Neven Ušumović, Naja Marie Aidt, Elo Viiding, Juhani Brander, Christine Montalbetti, George Konrád, Steinar Bragi, Julian Gough, Orna Ní Choileáin, Giulio Mozzi (AKA Carlo Dalcielo), Inga Abele, Mathias Ospelt, Giedra Radvilavičiūtė, Goce Smilevski, Stephan Enter, Jon Fosse, Michal Witkowski, Valter Hugo Mãe, Cosmin Manolache, Victor Pelevin, David Albahari, Peter Krištúfek, Andrej Blatnik, Julián Ríos, Josep M. Fonalleras, Peter Stamm, Deborah Levy, Alasdair Gray, Penny Simpson.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry

My first post in Translation: A Chronic Infection was dedicated to the poetical anthology New European Poets (to be more precise, it was limited just to its Ukrainian part). Now some time has passed and it's high time to announce another fine poetical anthology.

So it's going to be a collection of worldwide poetry gathered under the title The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. Its editors are Ilya Kaminsky (incidentally, he was a regional editor - Ukraine, Belarus and Russia - and translator in the anthology mentioned in previous paragraph) and Susan Harris in cooperation with Words Without Borders magazine.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a list of content. However, I have no doubts that it will be a 592-page-long volume of must-read poetry. Here is already praise from John Ashbery and Edward Hirsch - just to name few - for this thick volume.

And I almost forget, the book will be available for purchase from March 2, 2010.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Making the Translator Visible

Recently I came across a petite but interesting publishing house. It's called the Open Letter (based in University of Rochester), which specializes merely in translated works. Its history started only in 2007, but nevertheless the publishing house has already gathered some attention around itself.

The Open Letter also runs a literary magazine entitled Three Percent (more info about literary mag and publishing house itself may be found in the article "Small Publisher Finds Its Mission in Translation", which came up in New York Times several days ago) - nice design, easy navigation, insighful in its content.

The magazine has a grandiose in its mission section, which can rarely be encountered nowadays: Making the Translator Visible . As usual, there is a brief introduction about the translator, followed by the same and constant questions: the favorite word in any language, best tranlsation ever done to date, most difficult translation done, and what books need to be translated into English.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gombrowicz's translator talks about his books

Danuta Borchardt talks with Bill Marx on PRI's December World Books podcast about her experience of translating Witold Gombrowicz's Pornografia, Cosmos, and Ferdydurke, and the possibility of retranslating Transatlantyk. The podcast is half-hour long and downloadable.