The art of translation is a precarious one, balancing strict fidelity to meaning while trying to stay true to the rhythms and cadences of the original text. But what is it like to see your hard-crafted sentences transformed into Portuguese or Polish by someone else? How can you tell if they’ve done a good job, and are some books harder to translate than others?
‘Translating Ireland’ brings together three leading Irish novelists to share their experiences of being translated, read excerpts from their work, and to talk about the translations that have most inspired them.
In novels like A Long, Long Way (Ein Langer, Langer Weg in German, trans. Hans-Christian Oeser), Sebastian Barry has shone a light into the dark corners of Irish life, focusing on the ordinary people whose lives are neglected, forgotten or written out of history. Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright is celebrated for her capacity to explore serious issues with compassion and wry humour in works like The Forgotten Waltz (La Valse Oubliée in French, trans. Isabelle Reinharez). Hugo Hamilton is the bestselling author of seven novels and two memoirs, including The Speckled People (Sproetenkoppen in Dutch, trans. Miebeth Van Horn), a memoir of his German-Irish childhood that won a clutch of European awards.
Presented by the Ireland Literature Exchange, the national association for the worldwide promotion of literature from Ireland, in association with Dublin Writers Festival. Throughout 2014 Ireland Literature Exchange celebrates twenty years of supporting literature from Ireland in translation.