Kadare and the retranslation problem

This post was written by Friday blogger Annie Reid.

This coming Monday marks the first awards ceremony for the International Man Booker Prize.

The Independent provides a rare profile of the work of Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, the first winner. One fact not noted is that Kadare’s works are apparently only available to English readers through translations of translations. The complete review notes that no English editions directly from the Albanian exist, and eerily mentions that this fact has completely escaped all nearly all media coverage of Kadare.

Update: Helpful and melancholic reader Thomas writes in to remind us that while David Bellos is the winner of the associated translator’s prize (selected by the prize winner), no one in the press has mentioned his reliance upon the Albanian to French translations of Jusuf Vrioni except for Bellos himself. Bellos, who speaks no Albanian, pays graceful homage to “the late, great Vrioni” and describes his strange experience being the translator of books whose language he does not speak here.


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