08 August 2012

Translation talk with Chris Andrews

You could almost argue that [domesticating translation] brings the languages closer together, because it makes the original language version more familiar in a way. You can immerse yourself in the story when you’re not being alarmed by syntactic unfamiliarity.

You could make an argument for a certain degree of domestication in a first translation of an author to give the author a good chance of getting out there into the reading public. And I think what happens when an author becomes famous and well-loved and had a durable appeal, is that often a retranslation will be more foreignising and this has happened recently with Dostoevsky, for example people have retranslated Dostoevsky in a more foreignising way.

And does that alienate people?

Sometimes it alienates readers who are used to the earlier version. There’s also the issue of things being retranslated more for publishing reasons rather than literary reasons. There are already good translations out there but publishers know they can turn a dollar if they say, ‘this is the new and definitive version’, people will buy it.

More at Seemed like a good idea at the time.


  1. full of great info, thanks for sharing.

  2. Welcome, Gary. Chris Andrews is the man.