Saturday, May 02, 2009

PEN World Voices Festival - not getting lost in translation

The Huffington Post reporting on the festival:

"When the novelist Jose Manuel Prieto left Cuba to spend a decade in Siberia, he could only fit a few books in his suitcase, so he packed several volumes (not all) of "A La Recherche du Temps Perdu" by Marcel Proust. When winter closed in, Proust was more or less all Prieto had, and he read with a concentration "bordering on obsession."
So when, in preparation for Tuesday's panel, Prieto was asked to identify a favorite classic work, he immediately thought of Proust. He highlighted an excerpt from a minor Proust novel about diamond forgery, which his interpreter then read in English. Meanwhile, further down the dais, another interpreter whispered a simultaneous translation to the Syrian-French writer Salwa Al Neimi.

Thus was Proust translated from French into Spanish, then into English, and back into the original French, by way of Syria and Siberia. (With so many far-flung luminaries struggling to be understood, it was as if the UN had convened a Special Commission on Synecdoche.)"

This is multiculturalism at its height :-)

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