Sunday, December 3, 2017

Interview with Andre Brink on self-translation

In one of his lasts interviews, South-African writer Andre Brink shares some fascinating insights into his process of self-translation with Maria Recuenco. Brink and Recuenco discuss the differences between translating his own works and the works of others, the idea of being translated by someone else, the notion of translation, the advantage of being a self-translator, his thoughts on collaborative translations etc. I will share some interesting quotes, but I highly recommend reading the whole interview.

On the process of self-translation:
"It is never a mechanical process of translating, it is writing a book and then going back to it and redoing it in the other language. I rewrite it from scratch. Therefore, the two versions are always different" (p. 149)
On the reasons for self-translation:
"I like to be hands on when it comes to the translating. I won’t easily ask somebody else to do it. Or even allow somebody else to do it." (p. 150)
On self-translation being an exception:
"There are still very few writers that do it regularly, all the time they write. Apparently it happens in the Slavic languages more often that writers write in two languages." (p. 152)
On research on self-translation:
 "I would find it very interesting if somebody would write a thesis, for example, about a specific text in two languages and see how it differs, or when it differs, and find out why. That would fascinate me very much." (p. 153)
Peñalver, M. R. "Encounter with André Brink: Looking on … Self-Translation." Research in African Literatures, vol. 46 no. 2, 2015, pp. 146-156. Project MUSE,


Emma Glour said...

Wow, great post.

Elena Stella said...

Hi! I'm Elena. Interesting post! I wrote a thesis about self-translation, specifically about three novels by Carme Riera and how and why the spanish and the catalan versions differ. I'd like to write to Andre Brink after reading this post :)

Eva Gentes said...

Hi Elena Stella, yes he is a very fascinating self-translator, I agree! Do I have your thesis already listed in the bibliography? If not, please send me the reference!

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