THAT OTHER WORD: new podcast from the center for the art of translation

Here’s another reason to pledge allegiance to the Center for the Art of Translation: last month they formed a partnership with the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris to produce That Other Word, a podcast that will offer “discussions on classic and contemporary literature in translation, along with engaging interviews with writers, translators, and publishers”.

So far, they’ve aired two episodes. Below are summaries I’ve taken directly from their site, where you should go for time-specific tables of contents and to listen.

Episode #1 [listen]: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito chat about the accidental poetry and reasonable plausibility of César Aira’s Varamo, the miraculous strangeness of László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango, and the hopping city at the heart of Robert Walser’s Berlin Stories. They also mention recent and upcoming events at their respective centers, including the CWT’s publication of the latest inThe Cahiers SeriesA Labour of Moles by Ivan Vladislavić, and the upcoming visit of Jay Rubin and J. Philip Gabriel, translators of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, at the Center.

Afterward, Scott Esposito is joined by Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review and former senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. They discuss editing the English version of Jean-Christophe Valtat’s 03 (translated by Mitzi Angel), procuring the rights to Roberto Bolaño’s works and editing Natasha Wimmer’s translations, failure and what separates translation from other kinds of writing, “living with books,” and why The Paris Review publishes what it does. The conversation concludes with Edouard Levé, touching on his aphoristic influences, his humor, his suicide, and his book Autoportrait, which Stein has recently translated from the French.

Episode #2 [listen], Scott Esposito eagerly anticipates the Dirty War in Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets, and Daniel Medin shares a delightful description of a freeloader from Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories. They discuss Daniel Sada’s Almost Never—a remarkable book—and the general robustness of contemporary Mexican fiction, attempt to explain why reading Can Xue’s Vertical Motion is like running downhill in the dark, then hesitate over whether to call Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels a memoir or a work of criticism, but agree that it is about Oulipo and very candid.

Daniel Medin then speaks to Petra Hardt, head of the rights department at Suhrkamp Verlag and author of Rights: Buying. Protecting. Selling. Suhrkamp is one of the most prestigious presses in Germany and in Europe, and since its founding in 1950 has published not only many of the greatest German-language writers of the twentieth century — among them Paul Celan, Theodor W. Adorno, and Thomas Bernhard — but foreign authors as well, including Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust, and Julio Cortázar. In a series of wonderfully engaging anecdotes, Petra describes her work in rights and foreign rights, how that work is changing in the digital age, and why her book is intended for new presses in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.


If all of this has you excited (first of all, subscribe to their podcast, but then) check out the CAT’s next event on May 8 at 111 Minna Gallery: Lit&lunch with Argentine Author Sergio Chejfec (12:30p, free).