Navigating the art of translation

PEN_translationNYC

Less than an hour after arriving to the city that never sleeps and hauling my luggage up a narrow flight of stairs in the quaint Cheslea apartment I’m sharing with my AirBnB host, I just as quickly hopped in a taxi to “Joes Pub,” (also known as The Public Theatre,) for a PEN World Voices program with McSweeney’s celebrating the art of translation.  The project united writers and translators of various languages to move through six phases of translation of the same piece, a bizarre yet genius experiment in creative translation.  Among the voices at the reading were a Portugese writer, Jose Luis Peixoto, who, in pronouncing a single word was able to carry me back to a walk along Rua da Boavista in my chinelos [she NEL oosh];  Francisco Goldman’s multi-day translation odyssey trying to identify the Argentine slang word “pájaron,” that ended up being merely a typo; and Wyatt Mason’s comments about finding your voice by moving through another voice.  He reminded us that the muscles you use to speak a different language are totally different than the ones you use to speak your own.

Here’s to exercising the muscles and to exploring the art of translation, in any and all languages- including our own.

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~ by maureenmoore on April 30, 2013.

2 Responses to “Navigating the art of translation”

  1. “the muscles you use to speak a different language are totally different than the ones you use to speak your own.” Now, that’s an amazing discovery! I’ve been speaking two languages since I was 15 and I never knew about this.

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