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  • Writer's pictureEmily Bandeira

Jumpha Lahiri on self-translation

bits of the text written by Jumpha Lahiri on her process of translating her new Italian book into english.


"Italian translation, for me, has always been a way to maintain contact with the language I love when I am far away from it. To translate is to alter one’s linguistic coordinates, to grab on to what has slipped away, to cope with exile.


it was only by self-translating that I finally understood what Valéry meant when he said that a work of art was never finished, only abandoned.


I remember reading Bulgakov, Koestler, and Solzhenitsyn for the first time and, as a consequence, thinking about the political, aesthetic, and ethical value—and, I hasten to add, necessity—of translating literature across time and space."

photo and collage by me

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