Only days after launching Unravel’s pilot issue in November, we were receiving congratulations, feedback, and suggestions from readers around the world. Over coffee one afternoon, Kevin and I went back to the drawing board, meticulously going through each of the suggestions readers had sent in. The special feature was one of them, and was an idea I immediately warmed towards. In keeping with Unravel’s overarching goal of discussing topics of wide interest in an accessible manner, we wanted the special feature to be on something our readers could closely relate to.
Having recently finished the translation of a short story and having just started to translate a short novel from Spanish, I was acutely aware of the complexity of the task of literary translation. Sadly though, despite our incredible reliance on translation for the progress of human knowledge and the continuity of human thought through literature, it is a little-understood and often grossly-misunderstood art.
In our inaugural special feature, we present three articles dealing with issues pertaining to translation. Artur Viana, writing in Portuguese from Fortaleza, Brazil, discusses fidelity and equivalence in translation. Artur’s discussion of faithfulness is a deeply introspective and philosophical piece that aims to give the translator the recognition she deserves. Tanvi Rajvanshi takes Artur’s idea of fidelity by the horns and artfully applies it to the complex task that is poetry translation, comfortably navigating the waters that separate literature from linguistics. Finally, Natalie Tong stretches the issue of preserving lyricism in translation by embarking on an interesting new area of research: the translation of song lyrics from English to Japanese, and the syntactic issues that emerge as a result.
All three are masterfully-written pieces, expressing their complex issues in words easy to comprehend, but powerful enough to enthrall. Countless hours were spent in putting this special feature together, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did in my efforts to edit and translate the articles.
Editor, Unravel Issue 2 Special Feature: Translation
12 Feb 2015, Singapore