FW: How does translation function in your own creative practice?
JE: Translation gives me a chance to focus on technical aspects of writing without having to invent my own ‘material.’ The plot, characters, form, etc are all already there to work with, so I can focus on choosing the perfect word, phrase, or sentence and on creating the right voice, music, and literary effect.
Translation helps me expand my horizons by working on pieces I wouldn’t write myself. It exposes me to ways of writing that I might not find otherwise, or might find but not engage with so deeply. It helps read and write new things in new ways.
Translation helps me see language newly. It opens me up to new resonances and possibilities in English that I am able to see against the background of the other language.
FW: Who should take this class?
JE: Any writer or translator interested in stretching their brain and their practice in new and fascinating ways!
FW: Do students need to speak a second language?
JE: No, they don’t need to have a second language. Having one is, of course, advantageous, but it’s not strictly necessary. There are all kinds of interesting translation experiments that can be done without fluency in a second language.
FW: What if I’ve never done this before?
JE: No problem! Find a text you’d like to work on and let’s give it a shot together!