Title: The Thankless Stranger (Die Undankbare Fremde)
Author: Irena Brežná
Translator of sample: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (available as PDF on request)
Translation commissioned by: New Books in German, 2012
I was accepted to join the Emerging Translators’ scheme, a great initiative run by New Books in German, which involves translating an extract of a novel and the opportunity to discuss my work and others’ at a day workshop with 5 other translators and the venerable, multilingual and prolific translator Shaun Whiteside.
The piece I was commissioned to translate was an extract from ‘Die Undankbare Fremde’ by Irena x, a Swiss Slovakian writer who, besides having produced several works of fiction, is also a publicist, former war journalist, expert in Slavic languages, psychologist and intercultural mediator. Her work on Chechnya also seems pretty interesting.
I loved the themes of immigration/language/loss of identity … and the interrupting narrative by an interpreter who finds herself in all kinds of odd situations including interpreting for a lady giving birth. Seems like just my kind of story 🙂
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