Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bookslut on Nyberg

There's a really interesting review of Jennifer Hayshida's translation of Fredrik Nyberg's "A Different Practice" over at Bookslut. The reviewr, Olivia Cronk, makes a number of insightful points - not just about Nyberg but also Remainland, my Berg translation, and the relationship between Swedish and English:

Frederik Nyberg is Swedish. I remember when reading a translation of the work of fellow Swede, Aase Berg (translated by Johannes Göransson for Action Books), I learned that the Swedish language offers its users the wonderful option of flexible compound-words. Berg posed a particular problem in translation because she relies very heavily on this function. So, when the translator worked through the word groups, it was a constant creative process (when to hyphenate, when to literalize, when to simply maintain mood, etc.). The result is absolutely wonderful. I offer this information for two reasons: 1) I wonder about the distinct character of languages, for example: how Swedish rolled into English is itself a kind of poetics, and 2) I think there is much to be said about poetry translation as a primarily creative act, with documentation and presentation of information coming in second.


Blogger Max said...

That's an interesting review.

Just a minor quibble with the bit you posted:

Why does there have to even be a "primary" element of translation (creation, documentation, presentation of info, etc.)? It seems to me that it is all these things at the same time, and the reviewer's attempt to argue for the creative act as the primary element of translation is just some sort of overblown compliment.

7:46 AM  

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