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Wanted: Black women English to Dutch translators

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spanien
Local time: 09:21
Spanisch > Englisch
+ ...
Almost, but not quite Mar 2

Sadek_A wrote:

Isn't Marieke a female already? Why list "being a female" as a requirement then?


Apparently, Marieke-Lucas "identifies as non-binary", which is all the rage nowadays in certain segments of society.


Gerard Barry
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Vereinigtes Königreich
Schwedisch > Englisch
+ ...
Racism Mar 2

Samuel Murray wrote:
And none of the black translators proposed by the black Dutch activist are African-American, so the "similar culture or experiences" argument doesn't count. Black people in the Netherlands face and have faced an entirely different set of difficulties than their American counterparts.

Yes, everybody’s experience is different. But they will at least have a shared experience of casual racism and discrimination and otherness and outsideness. Being a member of the privileged majority in more or less every way, I don’t feel in a position to dismiss this.

Anthony John Kiely wrote:
I'm with Chris on this one. And the essential problem here is that issue is being raised in "PC gone mad" clickbait fashion.

In many societies a much-needed re-set is going on, and the outcome isn't always going to be perfect. But the underlying need for the re-set is profound and violent discrimination that is far from over. I'd prefer to save my indignation for that.

I was actually still very much sitting on the fence. But you make a very good point there, so now I’m not. As soon as there is a hint of inverse racism, “we” get all worked up about it. But when “they” get worked up about minor forms of racism, it’s an overreaction. (Generalising; no fingers pointed!)

I think probably even the most extreme/silly PC wokeness serves a very useful purpose by grabbing the headlines and allowing the more important underlying changes to slip through almost unnoticed. Which is great, because the residual racism in my country at least is still an absolute disgrace.


 

Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:21
Englisch > Arabisch
+ ...
Not questioning "their" identity, but rather the author's listing Mar 2

neilmac wrote:
Apparently, Marieke-Lucas "identifies as non-binary", which is all the rage nowadays in certain segments of society.


I was aware "they" identify as both male and female (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marieke_Lucas_Rijneveld); my objection was to the author of the news article who listed being a female as a requirement despite translator's current identity that covers both genders.


Anthony John Keily
 

Tom in London
Vereinigtes Königreich
Local time: 08:21
Mitglied (2008)
Italienisch > Englisch
Anti-Irish racism is alive and well Mar 2

https://tinyurl.com/y79k22gs

Gerard Barry
 

Patrick.D
Local time: 09:21
Russisch > Englisch
+ ...
But surely anybody could translate this poem. Mar 2

For what it's worth here is the the poem in question:

https://thehill.com/homenews/news/535052-read-transcript-of-amanda-gormans-inaugural-poem

I can't see why anyone's gender or skin colour should get in the way when it comes to finding a translator for this particular poem, it's message or theme could in fact speak to an
... See more
For what it's worth here is the the poem in question:

https://thehill.com/homenews/news/535052-read-transcript-of-amanda-gormans-inaugural-poem

I can't see why anyone's gender or skin colour should get in the way when it comes to finding a translator for this particular poem, it's message or theme could in fact speak to anyone, surely?

Although it might be a different matter when choosing a translator for the works of Maya Angelou or James Baldwin.

[Edited at 2021-03-02 22:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-03-02 22:47 GMT]
Collapse


Gerard Barry
Chris S
neilmac
Daryo
 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Griechenland
Local time: 10:21
Mitglied (2008)
Griechisch > Englisch
Author's choice Mar 3

Anthony John Keily wrote:
After all, in the literary area, such pairings are common and writers frequently choose or request to translate or deal with artists or topics for whom/which they feel a special affinity.


If the Guardian has it right, that's precisely what happened in this case. The writer chose a translator for certain specified reasons. Then somebody else came along and overrode the writer's decision for reasons of their own.

I agree with all the comments that this is a convoluted issue and, as an oldish Caucasian male, I acknowledge that I may not be sufficiently sensitive to issues of racism and so on.

However, the bottom line for me is that I think an author should be able to choose the translator for their own work, based on whatever criteria they consider most important.


P.L.F.Persio
Liviu-Lee Roth
Angus Stewart
neilmac
Marina Taffetani
Teresa Borges
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Vereinigtes Königreich
Schwedisch > Englisch
+ ...
Choice Mar 3

Philip Lees wrote:
the bottom line for me is that I think an author should be able to choose the translator for their own work, based on whatever criteria they consider most important.

Yes, definitely. Although I don’t suppose the poet actually was involved in the choice. More likely her (white middle-aged male) publisher said “By the way, we’ve got all your European translators lined up. The Dutch office have even managed to dig up a young non-binary poet.” And she was like “Yeah cool, pass the salt will you?”


Anthony John Keily
 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Griechenland
Local time: 10:21
Mitglied (2008)
Griechisch > Englisch
Going Dutch Mar 3

Chris S wrote:
Although I don’t suppose the poet actually was involved in the choice. More likely her (white middle-aged male) publisher said “By the way, we’ve got all your European translators lined up. The Dutch office have even managed to dig up a young non-binary poet.” And she was like “Yeah cool, pass the salt will you?”


You're probably right. I don't wish to offend our Dutch friends here, but I imagine the market for translated poetry in the Netherlands is not huge - not least because so many Dutch people are capable of reading and appreciating it in English. So Amanda Gorman is unlikely to have lost too much sleep over the choice. She did express approval of it, though, which is (or should be) sufficient.

And don't be so sure about that publisher: this article would suggest otherwise.

Also, female literary agents in the US outnumber males by 2:1.


Chris S
Anthony John Keily
 

Anthony John Keily
Local time: 09:21
Mitglied
Italienisch > Englisch
+ ...
The central objection was not to the translator's colour but the genre she works in Mar 4

[quote]Philip Lees wrote:

If the Guardian has it right, that's precisely what happened in this case. The writer chose a translator for certain specified reasons. Then somebody else came along and overrode the writer's decision for reasons of their own.


I'm not really sure about this being Gorman's "own decision", whatever the Guardian journalist says. The original statement from the publisher doing the rounds is that “Amanda Gorman herself was also immediately enthusiastic about the choice for the young poet”, which is a little different. It suggests that the publisher, and not Gorman, made the decision and then informed her. (On the surface, it seems extremely unlikely that Gorman, left to her own devices, would have drawn up a list of suitable Dutch candidates known to her and chosen the candidate who just happened also to be the foreign publisher's "dream translator"!)

There were indeed specific reasons for the original choice by the publisher: both poets had experienced early fame and are seen as representing minorities that experience discrimination. I would have had no problem with that choice and have much sympathy for Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, who seems to have been giving her all to the project.

However, Janice Deul's piece in the Volkskrant makes very valid points. She asks why the chosen translator wasn't a “spoken-word artist”. Although it seems central to her assertion that Marieke Lucas Rijneveld "has no experience in the field", this aspect of the discussion, of prime importance from a translation point of view, has been ignored in favour of the facile controversy of the "translator too white" line.

The importance of the spoken word aspect is clear from Deul's further words on the question: "We run away with Amanda Gorman - and rightly so - but are blind to the spoken word talent in our own country.  Not to be found, you say? I would like to share a few names from my personal network. A list that is by no means complete: Munganyende Hélène Christelle, Rachel Rumai, Zaire Krieger, Rellie Telg, Lisette MaNeza, Babs Gons, Sanguilla Vabrie, Alida Aurora, Pelumi Adejumo, Schiavone Simson. Each and every one of them a talent that enriches the literary landscape and that has often struggled for recognition for years. What would it be like to have one of them do the job? Wouldn't that make Gorman's message more powerful?

Agents, publishers, editors, translators, reviewers of the Netherlands, broaden your view and join the 2020s. Be the light, not the hill. Embrace those who are only sparsely part of the literary system, have an eye for the genres that have traditionally been excluded from the canon and do not let your ego prevail over art."

The core message is that the two poets - author and translator - write in different literary genres, Gorman writing in a genre "traditionally... excluded from the canon".

Deul then ends, "Also talent of colour should be seen, heard and cherished. Release their work too, hire them too and pay them accordingly." This secondary factor strikes me as completely defensible: if there are a number of arguably more qualified candidates for a job, who happen to belong to minorities that have traditionally experienced labour market discrimination, is it so wrong to say so?



[Edited at 2021-03-04 11:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-03-04 11:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-03-04 11:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-03-04 13:35 GMT]


 

Anthony John Keily
Local time: 09:21
Mitglied
Italienisch > Englisch
+ ...
Absolutely right Mar 4

[quote]Philip Lees wrote:

I don't wish to offend our Dutch friends here, but I imagine the market for translated poetry in the Netherlands is not huge - not least because so many Dutch people are capable of reading and appreciating it in English. So Amanda Gorman is unlikely to have lost too much sleep over the choice.


I thought the same thing myself from the get go, although for the same reason I doubt much value can be attached to "She did express approval of it". I really can't see an alternative scenario along the lines of:

INTERIOR - GORMAN HOME - DAY

(phone rings)

AMANDA
Hello, Amanda speaking...

DUTCH PUBLISHER
Hi Amanda, we're about to publish your work in Holland and we've chosen Marieke Lucas Rijneveld to translate it...

AMANDA
Stop right there! Marieke Lucas RIJNEVELD?! Have your lost your mind? We were just talking about her over breakfast. There is no way... do you hear me? NO WAY, etc, etc.


 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Griechenland
Local time: 10:21
Mitglied (2008)
Griechisch > Englisch
Verbatim from Guardian Mar 4

[quote]Anthony John Keily wrote:

Philip Lees wrote:

If the Guardian has it right, that's precisely what happened in this case. The writer chose a translator for certain specified reasons. Then somebody else came along and overrode the writer's decision for reasons of their own.


Really Philip, with all due respect, I don't think that's what's written there at all! (Although it may be that the article has been edited since its original posting - that can happen.)

The Guardian piece actually says that the publisher and not the author chose the translator and nowhere in the article does it say that the translator was chosen for "certain specified reasons".


The article in the Guardian I linked to includes the following statement: "... Gorman, who is 22, had selected the 29-year-old herself, as a fellow young writer who had also come to fame early."

I think my paraphrase of that was reasonable. YMMV.


neilmac
Dan Lucas
 

Anthony John Keily
Local time: 09:21
Mitglied
Italienisch > Englisch
+ ...
Apologies Mar 4

[quote]Philip Lees wrote:

The article in the Guardian I linked to includes the following statement: "... Gorman, who is 22, had selected the 29-year-old herself, as a fellow young writer who had also come to fame early."

I think my paraphrase of that was reasonable. YMMV.


You're right, Philip. Sorry about that! I've edited my post accordingly.



[Edited at 2021-03-04 11:52 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-03-04 11:54 GMT]


 

Veronica Montserrat
Frankreich
Local time: 09:21
Mitglied (2020)
Englisch > Französisch
+ ...
I believe Mar 4

Sadek_A wrote:

neilmac wrote:
Apparently, Marieke-Lucas "identifies as non-binary", which is all the rage nowadays in certain segments of society.


I was aware "they" identify as both male and female (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marieke_Lucas_Rijneveld); my objection was to the author of the news article who listed being a female as a requirement despite translator's current identity that covers both genders.


that non-binary do not identify as men nor women.


Anthony John Keily
Jean Dimitriadis
 

Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:21
Englisch > Arabisch
+ ...
..... Mar 4

Veronica Montserrat wrote:
I believe that non-binary do not identify as men nor women.

As you can tell, I don't know "them" in a personal capacity. So, my knowledge on "their" identity is limited to what is provided so far:

----------
Rijneveld identifies as both male and female, and adopted the second first name Lucas at the age of nineteen, having been bullied during secondary education because of their "boyishness". Rijneveld uses they/them personal pronouns.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marieke_Lucas_Rijneveld

Rijneveld, who identifies as both male and female and uses they/them personal pronouns, was chosen for the task by publisher Meulenhoff because ‘both authors are young and successful and not afraid to speak out’.
https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2021/03/dutch-award-winning-poet-hands-back-translation-of-amanda-gorman-poem/

Meulenhoff’s reasoning was that Rijneveld, who identifies as both male and female and uses they/them personal pronouns, and Gorman are both “young and successful and not afraid to speak out,” the English-language site Dutch News reported.
https://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/ny-dutch-writer-marieke-lucas-rijneveld-quits-amanda-gorman-translator-20210302-3sohcq4egbhmbmaxc54oypiup4-story.html
----------

If "they" were being misrepresented in the above, "they" certainly would have sought a correction, especially with "their" current coverage.

That said, I think everyone now is dropping the most important -and what should actually be the only- factor, i.e. whether or not "they" provided a successful sample translation [this is what we, translators, are all about, right?], in favor of the gender, color, race, age, etc., factors.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
Vereinigte Staaten
Local time: 02:21
Mitglied (2002)
Englisch > Ungarisch
+ ...
@Anthony John Keily Mar 5

Anthony John Keily wrote:

However, Janice Deul's piece in the Volkskrant makes very valid points. She asks why the chosen translator wasn't a “spoken-word artist”. Although it seems central to her assertion that Marieke Lucas Rijneveld "has no experience in the field", this aspect of the discussion, of prime importance from a translation point of view, has been ignored in favour of the facile controversy of the "translator too white" line.

The importance of the spoken word aspect is clear from Deul's further words on the question: "We run away with Amanda Gorman - and rightly so - but are blind to the spoken word talent in our own country.  Not to be found, you say? I would like to share a few names from my personal network. A list that is by no means complete: Munganyende Hélène Christelle, Rachel Rumai, Zaire Krieger, Rellie Telg, Lisette MaNeza, Babs Gons, Sanguilla Vabrie, Alida Aurora, Pelumi Adejumo, Schiavone Simson. Each and every one of them a talent that enriches the literary landscape and that has often struggled for recognition for years. What would it be like to have one of them do the job? Wouldn't that make Gorman's message more powerful?


So, if someone is Dutch spoken word artist, that makes them automatically excellent and experienced translators of American English, too?
Writing and translating are different "fields", I would say.


Dan Lucas
Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
 
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