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Photo Credit Vince Passaro
"Fantastic stories have to move on this invisible slippage..."
— Edward Gauvin
Readers and listeners might have noticed that over the years I have an interest in translation and translators. Edward Gauvin first came to my notice when I read his translation of Georges Châteaureynaud's 'A Life on Paper.' When I received a copy of 'The Conductor,' I decided to give him a ring and hear what he had to say about the art and science of translation.
My interest in translation probably this stems from my encounters with the Michael Kandel translations of Stanislaw Lem's work, and even one of Lem's stories, which imagines computers that translate literature that can't be turned off, and in their downtime, compose works that were not written by the authors they translate. I don't think we'll have to wait long for that to come to pass.
In the interim, we can enjoy Gauvin's translation of Ferry and listeners can enjoy his thoughts on the process. At one point he talks about translation being the perfection of the art of plagiarism, which to me is a fascinating insight into his work.
Of course it is one thing to translate a relatively straightforward work of fiction or nonfiction, but it is equally obvious to me that translating weird fiction really requires serious translation and literary chops. If literature is itself ineffable, then fantastic literature is even more so. Capturing the weird in what Gauvin is all about.