All posts tagged: Translation

Translation as Art: Against Flattening

Essay by HISHAM BUSTANI

English translation by ROBIN MOGER

Essay appears in the original Arabic here.

An introductory essay to Stories from Syria, a portfolio published in English by The Common and in Arabic by Akhbar Al Adab (Egypt).

 

Today, in the second installment of a transatlantic literary collaboration which I hope will last for many years to come, Akhbar Al Adab publishes the original Arabic texts of stories by Syrian writers whose English translations appear in a special portfolio in Issue 17 of The Common, a literary magazine based at Amherst College. The first portfolio in the series contained stories by Jordanian writers and was published in Issue 15 of The Common, which followed the collaboration’s inaugural project: an issue of the magazine (Issue 11, Spring 2016) entirely dedicated to contemporary Arabic literature in translation entitled Tajdeed (Renewal), in which editor-in-chief Jennifer Acker and I selected stories and artworks by twenty-six writers and five artists from fifteen Arabic-speaking countries, with eighteen translators bringing the work into English.

Griffin LessellTranslation as Art: Against Flattening
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Women in Translation in The Common

In honor of women in translation month, we at The Common have compiled this feature, highlighting the translated pieces from our pages that were written or translated by women.

 


In an online feature from June, Olga Livshin and Andrew Janco translate Vladimir Gandelsman’s poem, “Immigrant Ditty,” from the original Russian.

Our May poetry feature highlights Arabic poetry from Nadia Al-Katib and Nermeen Al Mufti, as well as translations by  Jennifer Jean.

Common Issue 17 cover with matches strewn on a pale green background

Three Torabully Translations by Nancy Naomi Carlson: Khal Torabully poetry translated from the original French.

Our Issue 17 translation portfolio, “Arabic Stories from Syria” featured translations by Alice Guthrie and Maia Tabet, as well as original fiction in translation from Colette Bahna and Shahla al-Ujayli. In addition to the Arabic fiction portfolio, Issue 17 includes Alfonsina Storni‘s poem “You Want Me Daybreak” translated from the original Spanish by Nicholas Friedman, and Ferreira Gullar’s poem “Two Plus Two: Four,” translated from Portugese by Tal Goldfajn.

 

The Common Issue 16 cover with a melting yellow popsicle on a bright blue backgroundIssue 16 includes translations by Jennifer Acker, Nicole Cecilia Delgado, María José Giménez, Joan M. Pabón Maxán, Hannah Cook, and Aurora Lauzardo Ugarte, plus work in translation from Ana María Fuster Lavín, Mara Pastor, Carmen Graciela Díaz, and Vanessa Vilches Norat as part of the special portfolio “De Puerto Rico: Un año después de la tormenta” (One year after the storm). In addition, Issue 16 features Polina Barskova‘s poem “After the War, in the West,” translated from the Russian by Valzhyna Mort.

Excerpt from The Occasional Virgin by Hanan Al-Shaykh, translated from the original Arabic by Catherine CobhamIssue 15 Cover

Issue 15’s special portfolio – Arabic Stories from Jordan – features translations by Elisabeth Jaquette, Thoraya El-Rayyes, Alice Guthrie, and Maia Tabet, as well as work in translation from Fairooz Tamimi, Jamila Amaireh, Majidah al-Outoum, and Haifa’ Abul-Nadi.

 

cover of The Common Issue 13, showing a garden trowel

 

Issue 13 features Maia Tabet’s translation of “Living in the Past” an excerpt from Sinan Antoon’s novel The Baghdad Eucharist, originally in Arabic.

Michelle Hartman translates an excerpt from Jana Fawaz Elhassan’s novel, The Ninety-Ninth Floor from the original Arabic.

Issue 11 cover

 

Issue 11’s Tajdeed portfolio includes Arabic fiction from Fatima Al-Mazrouei, Mona Merhi, Malika Moustadraf, Rasha Abbas, and  Basma Al-Nsour, as well as translations by Alice Guthrie, Elisabeth Jaquette, Maia Tabet, Thoraya El-Rayyes, Nashwa Gowanlock, Katharine Halls, Yasmeen Hanoosh, Nariman Youssef, Anna Ziajka, Fadwa Al Qasem, Ghada Mourad, and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp.

 

The cover of The Common Issue 10, showing pen quills

 

Issue 10 features two poems by Sylvie Durbec, translated from the original French by Denis Hirson, as well as a portfolio of new Chinese poetry in translation that includes works from Tang Danhong and Zheng Min.

cover of The Common Issue 9, showing a crumpled piece of paper

 

Issue 09 includes Valzhyna Mort’s translation of Arseny Tarkovsky’s poem “I Went Sick as a Child,” originally in Russian.

The cover of The Common Issue 8, showing an ax

 

Issue 08 features poetry in translation by Sylvie Durbec, as well as translations of Polish poetry by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Martha Cooley‘s translation from the Italian of Antioni Tabucchi’s short story, “Clouds.”

issue 7

 

In Issue 07, Mariya Gusev, along with Jeff Parker and Alina Ryabovolova, translates Zakhar Prilepin’s short story, “from SANKYA” from the original Russian.

issue 6 cover

 

Issue 06 features translations from Arabic by Thoraya El-Rayyes, and from Russian by Catherine Ciepiela, and Anna Khasin, as well as Russian poetry in translation from Anna Glasova.

cover of Issue2, showing a pencil erase on a green background

 

Issue 02 features Jacquelyn Pope’s translation of the Dutch poet Hester Knibbe’sZijnstra Inc.” as well as Russian fiction in translation from Katia Kapovich and Spanish fiction translated by Teresa Villegas.

cover of Issue 1, showing a fork on a red background

 

Issue 01 includes poetry in translation from Yehudit Ben-Zvi Heller, and Marina Tsvetaeva as well as translations by Catherine Ciepiela.

 

 

 

 

 

Griffin LessellWomen in Translation in The Common
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Call for Submissions from and about the Lusosphere

In fall 2020, The Common, in partnership with the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, will publish a portfolio from and about the Lusosphere: Portugal and its colonial and linguistic diaspora, including writers from and works about Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Goa, Guinea-Bissau, Moza, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Equatorial Guinea.

We seek pieces in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid works. Pieces may be written originally in English or Portuguese. If written originally in Portuguese, please provide an English-language sample of at least 30% of the piece.

Submissions open July 1 and close on November 15, 2019. Early submissions are very much encouraged, as we will accept pieces until the portfolio is full. Submit here via Submittable.


Elly HongCall for Submissions from and about the Lusosphere
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Immigrant Ditty

By VLADIMIR GANDELSMAN

Translated from Russian by OLGA LIVSHIN and ANDREW JANCO

Poem appears in both Russian and English.

 

Translators’ Note:

Born in 1948, Vladimir Gandelsman is very much the literary child of the poets of the Russian Silver Age. He draws on their dramatic, spiritually intense version of modernism, the acme, or the highest point of expression, whether meditating on fleeting moments or on major historical events. His literary parents include Pasternak and Mandelstam. Proust and Wilde are his relatives: he draws on and develops their respective fascinations with the sensuous quality of everyday life. Gandelsman’s exquisite diction and surprising collages of words help us remember our own moments of heightened feeling.

Sofia BelimovaImmigrant Ditty
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The Silence of Fire

By HAIDAR HAIDAR
Translated by JONATHAN WRIGHT


Damascus 1969

The war had ended the way it ended. The defeats and victories felt much like a dream dreamt in the depths of time.

The fighter finally came home from captivity, after the war had ended, with gray hair and two scars across the center of his face.

In the middle of their small sitting room, his wife stood upright like an immovable object. Her face overcast with traces of a somber past, she chattered away.

Isabel MeyersThe Silence of Fire
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A Lifetime

Story by LARA MORENO

Translated from the Spanish by KATE WHITTEMORE

 

Translator’s Note:

This past fall, I asked Lara Moreno if she would be willing to send me some stories. I had read her novel Piel de lobo (Wolf Skin) (Lumen, 2016) over the summer and was struck by the honesty and intimacy in her portrayal of the interior life of her protagonist, Sofía, a woman in her thirties, mother to a young child, and wanted to try my hand at translating her particular voice. Lara was gracious enough to send me several Word documents, including the story “Toda una vida,” winner of the 2013 Cosecha Eñe prize organized by the prestigious Spanish literary magazine Eñe: Qué Leer, and I’ve been honored and delighted to work with her since.

Debbie WenA Lifetime
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Ends of the Earth & Edges of Dream

By PIBULSAK LAKONPOL

Translated by NOH ANOTHAI

from By the Bank of Brokenhearted River

 

I’m thinking of a classic geography text that explains how humans use rivers and mountains to mark their borders. The difference is that rivers help humans come and go from each other while mountains keep them apart.
But from the textbook of my own travels, I know this isn’t true. The only real borders are those humans make themselves, in their own minds.

—Suddan Wisudthilak, Thai scholar

 

1.

Two years ago, I stood aghast at the sight of a little island in the Moei River, the border between Thailand’s northwestern Mae Sot district and Burma, on which refugees from the latter had made their home.

“This is it—this is what they call a no-man’s-land,” said my friend, a local provincial administrator, who’d taken me there. “It’s not only that they lack a military force. For me, it also means there’s no humanity. Just look.”

Griffin LessellEnds of the Earth & Edges of Dream
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Silence

By ODAI AL ZOUBI
Translated by ROBIN MOGER

A sticky patch 

1 

Tamara says that I am constantly on edge; she says that for people like me, meditation can help. “Meditate on what?” “On yourself,” she replies. “Look inside yourself.” There’s nothing there, Tamara, nothing to see; everything that crosses my mind lies outside me: Goya’s caprichos, the appalling translation of Bertrand Russell’s essays on epistemology I was reading yesterday, the over-vinegared salad I ate today. Perhaps this is my self, Tamara: nothing worth contemplating. 

Isabel MeyersSilence
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To Be Led from Behind

By MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM NAWAYA
Translated by ROBIN MOGER

 

Seige 

I sprinted towards them as they battered away. Tried, but could not open the bolted door. I shouted out, called at the top of my voice for those around me to help, but to no avail. And when at last I despaired, and turned my back to come away, my head knocked against the wall of a water tank, greater still, shut fast against me. 

 

Avery FarmerTo Be Led from Behind
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