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This report is taken from PN Review 178, Volume 34 Number 2, November - December 2007.

Daniel's Lament: The Feat of Translation Barry Wood

 In recent articles in PNR 174 and 175 Daniel Weissbort laments the lack of a Nobel Prize for translation and 'the fact that literary translation is undervalued'. The Swedish Academy, he notes, 'relies on translation when making its choice of literature laureate' and yet seems not to recognise its dependence. He describes himself, rather wearily, as a 'literary translation activist', but despairs of delivering 'the umpteenth lecture on the value of literary translation' and 'how civilisation cannot manage without it'.

Well, maybe. But, as someone who counts himself as part of the 'translation community' (whether in Iowa, Norwich, Warwick, or in my case Bolton and Manchester, where of course everything needs translating!); and further as someone who, when I read his article, had just delivered a paper on creative translation at the University of Bolton and was about to give a lecture on the subject for the Writing School at MMU, I'd like to offer a little comfort. He needn't feel quite so isolated and embattled. (Is there no solidarity in the translation community?) Much good work still goes on, not least by Professor Weissbort himself of course over the decades of MPT and in his recent Translation - Theory & Practice: A Historical Reader, reviewed in PNR 174. Calling for a Nobel Translation Prize is, to my mind, neither here nor there. There are translation prizes (Soros, BCLA), though not of a kind to ...

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