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The globally interconnected world we live in is webbed with translation. We rely on this web, whether we’re reading a Murakami, Kundera or Stieg Larsson novel, watching a Chinese or Iranian film, studying French theorists like Derrida or even trying to decode the English-language instructions that came with a Japanese washing machine. The best literary and film translation requires a deep understanding of two (or more) cultures and two languages, yet translation is one of the most humble of careers – it’s said that the most successful translations are the ones where the translator’s presence is most ‘invisible’. Yet we’d be nowhere without translation – we certainly would not be in the world.
The talk is based in part on the research I did for my Quarterly Essay on the subject of translation (publication 25 November 2013) and part on my three decades of experience as a literary and film translator (from Chinese, mainly Mandarin).
Why translation makes your world go round The difference between translation and interpreting * How when we learn languages, languages learn from each other * Who’s vous: The challenges of translating across cultures *Machine translations – why if this is the future, you can kiss sweet culture goodbye. * Don’t look at moi! The humble art of translation * Literary and film translation as a career
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