Saturday, 22 April 2017

The vexed question

Though it has no particular Nordic focus, this recent article by Tim Parks about literary translation and the conditions under which many or most translators live and work touches on some vital issues. In particular, I'm struck by Parks' suggestion at the conclusion of the piece, which echoes thoughts I've sometimes had myself:
My own feeling is that the problem is less difficult than everyone pretends; that it surely would not be impossible to bring together editor, translator, and, say, an expert in translation from this or that language to establish how demanding a text is, how much time will be involved in translating it, and what would be a reasonable payment for doing so. Perhaps it is time for translators and translators’ associations to focus on putting such arrangements in place, without getting bogged down in the vexed question of authorship and royalties.

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