The Linguist

The Linguist 53,4

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 35

Anatoly, you are a poet and literary translator, as well as a novelist. Could you describe your writing style? Anatoly Kudryavitsky: My style has been described as magic realism. in works of this genre, everyday life undergoes poetic, symbolic and sometimes surreal metamorphoses. Many magic realist writers benefit from a distorted vision of the world, which affects their works, giving them some unusual qualities. What were some of the biggest difficulties involved in translating Anatoly's latest novel, Shadowplay on a Sunless Day? Carol Ermakova: Anatoly's work is often poetic, even lyrical, and one of the stylistic devices he makes frequent use of is the extended metaphor, often in association with the personification of nature. this works well in Russian as each noun has a gender, so it's generally easier to recognise which object in the metaphor is being referred to. it's not always as straightforward to sustain these metaphors in English, especially when they run through an entire chapter, as in: ИопятьпослеработыАрефьевокунулсяв изумрудныйлиственныйпруд. Небонад головойсгустилосьвряску, впрогалине светилозеленоватоесолнце, вокругбелели лотосыоблаков. Лесбылподводным, и струйкиветранеспешноколебалиутонувшую вдневнойжарелиству. And once again, Arefiev plunged into the emerald leafy pool of the forest after work. The sky over his head thickened with pondweed, and a greenish sun circled by white lotus clouds shone in the glade. The forest was a submarine realm and the wind's currents gently rocked the leaves as they sank into the depths of the day's heat. AK: the sequence of made-up aphorisms in the final part was challenging, and it works exceptionally well in carol's translation. For example: Спиноза – Дарвину: Природаневыносит пустоты, апустота – природы. Spinoza to Darwin: Nature cannot bear emptiness, and emptiness cannot bear nature. CE: Anatoly's work sparkles with such gems. these almost throw-away comments catch you off guard, suddenly shifting the spotlight, as in: молодостьзаплаченозвонкоймонетой – детством, отдаетсяжеонаподешевке – за горькийопыт We pay a high price for youth: our childhood. But then youth is bartered cut price, exchanged for bitter experience Another common theme is the overlap of the real/surreal, the merging of 'waking reality' (наяву) and the dream, and the juxtaposition of the beautiful and the grotesque. Maybe these are themes to which a Russian reader would be more sensitive, thanks to authors such as Bulgakov and Gogol. in fact, Anatoly mentions this in Shadowplay: Soviet writers portray typical scenes of nature and everyday life thereby invoking in us… In the latter case the children take their pencils and scrawl: 'a sense of deep aversion'. They show this to each other, giggle, then rub it out, but they are wrong. In fact they should have written 'familiarity with the grotesque' or better still 'a sense of the surreal nature of existence'. Carol, at what stage did you seek advice from Anatoly? CE: i ran into difficulties as early as the second paragraph! the description of the grocery van is very vivid but very tight in Russian, and i ended up expanding it, just to make the image of the trunk clearer: RUSSIAN IN THE UK AUGUSt/SEptEMBER The Linguist 7 Vol/53 No/4 2014 Working in the shadows Anatoly Kudryavitsky and his translator Carol Ermakova on the challenges of rendering his magic realist work in English

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 53,4