To Write a Page in Someone’s Shoes: On Translation and the Experience of Empathy

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I translate something almost every day. Five or six days a week, you can find me in the process of drafting, editing, or proofreading a translation, clicking back and forth between the original and my translation, comparing and contrasting.

Out With the Old and in With the Ancient: The Bible as Literature in Translation

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It isn’t only Israeli politics and government agenda that hang on the narratives of the Bible—the Hebrew language is profoundly steeped in biblical passages, references, and turns of phrase.

Duly Noted: on Footnotes and their Place in Translation

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When I was translating Some Day, by Shemi Zarhin, my first published translation which came out with New Vessel Press in 2013, the question of footnotes was constantly on my mind. There was so much to that book, set in Israel, that an English reader wouldn’t know about.

From Swaddles to Slang: Creative Problem Solving in Translation and Motherhood

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In late February I finished up the translation of a novel. In mid-March my son was born. Caring for a baby is not all too different than dealing with a challenging translation, though granted the hours are less convenient and the boss often poses unreasonable demands. In both cases

Preserving Intent: What’s Lost in the Cinematic Translation of Mrs. Dalloway

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I like to follow up my reading of a text with its cinematic counterpart. After finishing Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, I rented the DVD of the same name with great anticipation. But after the credits rolled, I was unsatisfied: while the cinematic version of Woolf’s novel provides a touching

Hello from the Other Side: Why We Need and Ought to Translate and Read Translations

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As children, we’re both fascinated with the idea of the great big world around us, and consumed with the notion that we are at its center. I recall sleepless nights, hearing my father return home late from work, and tiptoeing past my sleeping sister’s bed to the living room

Out of the Blue and Onto the Page: How Translation Rekindled My Passion for Writing

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When my mother, born in America to Israeli parents, first met my father in Tel Aviv, she said she knew he was right for her because he was an American living in Israel. As a young woman who grew up in transit—constantly being moved around between the two countries—she

Lost in Translation: A Journey on the Li River

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My China-born daughter is thirteen the summer day we take a cruise down the Lijiang River from Guilin to Yangshao. This stretch is said to be the inspiration for much Chinese poetry and art: “Guilin’s unique topography. and beautiful scenery of the Karst Mountains and the unsurpassed beauty of the

Laughs in Translation

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Recently, I was reading The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov’s antic retelling of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilot. The novel follows—in part—the devil and his deranged retinue, including a bipedal cat and a naked woman, as they wreak havoc on Moscow. The edition I own, translated by

A Writer Between Worlds

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Culture shock is central to Tawada Yôko’s subject matter: her characters tend to be travelers of one kind or another—mail-order brides, bewildered exchange students—forced to wander in the gap between languages, where the meaning of ordinary daily experience turns slippery and weird.