We’ve linked to infographics about the life cycle of translated books, but that doesn’t cover the difficulties inherent in translation itself. The New Yorker‘s latest Out Loud podcast tackles this subject as Adam Gopnik talks with Ann Goldstein and Sasha Weiss about priorities in translation and how we identify with the languages we use.
This week in the New Yorker Jane Hu analyzes the “dispassionate first-person narrators” prominent in works by English-speaking Asian authors and questions whether that makes it easier to identify with the narrator. She uses Chemistry by NBA 5 under 35 honoree Weike Wang as an example along with other recent works. “Against this tradition, there is, perhaps, another emerging, of Asian-Anglophone writers who both play with and thus begin to undo these tropes of Asian impersonality. The novels by Ishiguro, Park, Lin, and Wang all feature first-person narrators who keep their distance—actively denying readers direct interior access. This is true, it’s important to note, even when the characters they write are not themselves Asian.”