Posted: Friday October 4, 2013
Celebrating Translators, the Too-Often Unsung Heroes of World Literature

The recent launch of Wigrum, written by Daniel Canty and translated by Oana Avasilichioaei, and the recent receipt of the 2013 Sunburst Award by Maleficium, a novel by Martine Desjardins (which we are currently celebrating with a special offer), has brought the art of translation to the forefront of our minds at Talon. Being a press that publishes many works in translation (generally from Quebec), it is never far from our minds.

The translation of Maleficium, in addition to winning the Sunburst Award, also won the Prix Jacques Brossard and was a finalist for four others: the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award (French Fiction), the Prix des libraires du Québec, the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie, and the Prix France–Québec. Fairy Ring won the 2001 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, and All That Glitters was a finalist for the 2005 Governor General’s Literary Award.

Today we take a moment to reflect on the two excellent translators of Desjardins’s four novels, among other impressive works: Fred A. Reed and David Homel.

Homel, an author himself, also works as a journalist, editor, and screenwriter. His own novels have been translated into several languages and published around the world.

Reed, known especially for his writing about the Middle East, has also translated works by Thierry Hentsch, including Empire of Desire, which was a finalist for the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation, and Truth or Death, which won this same award in 2005. Reed has translated works by many of Quebec’s leading authors, several in collaboration with Homel, as well as by Nikos Kazantzakis and other modern Greek writers.

Translators do difficult work; they must be meticulous and thorough, reflective and reasonable. The fruits of their labour are enjoyed in a variety of contexts in this increasingly small world, and we thank them for it.

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