The Elusive Art of Translation

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

There is an amazing group of deeply committed and professional people that enables books to go global: the translators! I am truly in awe of their work.

Translation is an art, an elusive one, that this very episode of Big Better Best Books will try to un-elude.

My guests today are two multi-lingual translators, Katioucha Zakhanevitch, living in Belgium, and Corinna Kaebel, living in Austria.

The elusive art of translation is something that requires more than just the ability to speak and read in multiple languages. It requires a deep understanding of the cultural context, intuition, creativity, and skill as a writer.

Join us to learn what it takes to be a great translator, how translation is a creative process, and why it’s important to understand the energy of the book and the intention of the author above all else.

Key takeaways

  • To translate, you need to have fluency in both languages and understand the cultural context, what’s behind the words.

  • It’s important to be true to the author and true to the audience.

  • A translation isn’t just a commodity, it’s a creation in itself.

  • Listening to the book, the rhythm, the sound, the tone of the text.

  • When it works and when it doesn’t work: you just know, it’s a gut feeling.


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