1. How do you think translation provides you with opportunities that ordinary readers might not have?
2. What are the pleasures of finding works that you really want to translate? AND what tend to be the works you want to translate, and why?
3. Can you talk about the pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other translators?
4. Based on your own experience, what are the best things about translating a living author?
5. George Eliot once said ‘a good translator is infinitely below the man who produces good original works’. Has being a translator ever inspired some writing of your own, or informed your own writing?
6. To what extent do you agree with the statement that ‘Translation navigates between making the strange familiar and the familiar strange’? (Mark Polizzotti)
7. FOLLOW-UP: To what extent do you agree with the statement that translation can be considered as ‘a preventative against cultural atrophy and homogenisation’? (Mark Polizzotti)
8. For you, is what you are translating also your favourite text?
9. Are there any poetic works that you as a translator and maybe a cultural gatekeeper, if you will, would refuse to translate?
10. For the last question, I just want to go back to Eliot Weinberger, who inspired the theme and title of tonight’s reading. In an interview, he was asked the question, ‘What would happen if all translation ceased?’ My question is: What do you think would happen if there was no more translation in this world? (EW’s answer: We’d all be a lot dumber.)
1. What does it take to be a feminist translator?
2. Why is it important to translate more female writers in the current cultural, political and globalised environment?
3. Do you actively seek out female writers to translate? Do you have much control over what writers or texts you get to translate?
4. What are a translator’s obligations and responsibilities—if any?
5. What sets feminist translators apart from other translators?
6. FOLLOW-UP: Is translating as a feminist concerned mostly with choice of texts or does it have anything to do with word choices or other linguistic characteristics?
7. Based on your own experience, what are the challenges faced by translators in general and female translators specifically?
8. The first ENG translation of Homer’s Odyssey was published in 1615 (by George Chapman), and since then, 60 English translations (half of them in the last 100 years and a dozen in the last two decades). Last year, for the first time, a new translation of Homer’s Odyssey by a female translator—Emily Wilson—was published. Why do you think it has taken so long for The Odyssey to have a female translator? And what do you think is the significance of this ‘event’ in the world of translation?
9. Xi Xi, in an interview, said the following: ‘For me, the only differences between men and women are biological. Women have been exploited, just as people have been discriminated against for the colour of their skin or the language they speak. Women are always put into a separate mould. Here we say writers, unless she’s a woman in which case she’s a “female writer”—there are no “male writers.” I think we should be beyond talking about “men (male)” and “women (female).” Is what Xi Xi said, about going beyond the distinction between male and female, helpful for you to perceive your work as a translator or poet?
10. Can you share with us ONE very memorable experience of yours as a translator?
1. You are all, of course, emigrants, as many Irish people, from both north and south, are. How different do you feel as an Irish person living outside Ireland? And how do you think living abroad, or in exile if you will, has shaped your writing or other creative works?
2. Ireland has produced a large number of famed writers, such as Swift, Wilde, Joyce, Beckett, and Heaney, who have made Irish literature famous internationally. Which Irish writers inform your work, or do you try to resist their influence?
3. Stephen Daedalus, at the end of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, famously said, ‘I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.’ Do you think this has set the tone for a certain type of national introspection?
4. Are there any Irish writers, whom you would like to be better known, either inside Ireland or abroad?
5. Where do you think Irish literature stands on a global scale? What other literatures, if any, do you measure it against?
6. How do you think Ireland is perceived in Asia? And in Hong Kong?