I don’t have anything better to do. Because this is actually quite interesting. I mean, very interesting indeed. And a bit charming.
Daniel Hahn, my second favourite translator, is making more work for himself, by not only translating another book – Diamela Eltit’s Jamás el fuego nunca – but writing a public diary about the process. As he says, ‘But why a diary?
(Apart from a natural translator’s desire to make things more difficult for himself – and, you know, ego?)’
To entertain us, which is a worthy aim. To make us more knowledgeable regarding what goes on in the heads of translators as they read and change every word some author has laboured long and hard over.
To make me, personally, realise I’ve mislaid my upside down exclamation mark, which is almost as bad as when I had to ask a stranger for a grave accent.
I think some of you will enjoy reading this. Even setting aside the educational aspect, it’s fun. Daniel has a nice style. Which, of course, he can’t always insert into his work, having to mostly follow what that other author wrote in the first place.
‘We begin, then, with my title. In English, the book will be called Never the Fire Ever.
At least, I think so. But – hmm – I might yet change my mind.
OK, I’ll come back to that.’