Letter from the Editors Issue One

When we began collecting submissions for this first issue, it became apparent that assigning a theme would be impossible. As a nascent undergraduate journal in the small (but cozy) Comparative Literature department of an extremely large university, we loved the freedom this afforded us. Our contributors are beginning translators, and they strove to render the texts that served as the testing ground for their individual approaches to translation in an English that captured the fluid originality of the source text, while creating an entirely new text, one whose value does not depend upon the original. We ask that you enjoy these works in their present incarnations, but also savor the traces of their past lives that remain.

You’ll no doubt notice the wide range of periods, styles, and languages represented in this issue. Marisa Gies brings us life amidst the rubble of the fallen Berlin Wall in a brave excerpted translation of Yadé Kara’s novel Selam Berlin. Liz Medendorp, channeling the French lyricism of Victor-Émile Michelet, translates an exotic land where a candle on the water decides the fate of a young girl and her lover in the short piece “The Lover’s Sentence.” Emma Claire Foley’s translation of an excerpt from Božena Němcová’s novel Grandmother tells the story of an ancient myth dormant in modern society. In addition, we are proud to publish three accomplished translations from the Greek and Latin, all winners of the University’s annual Classics Translation Contest, as well as other works from around the world, a world brought closer together with each new translation.

We hope that this first issue will spark the imagination of translators in all departments of our university, whether or not they recognize themselves as such. As young translators, we have tried not to artificially limit ourselves by clinging to the lofty, but vague and quite possibly unattainable, standards of fidelity and authenticity; but instead to define our own approaches, believing that our work has significance for the tradition of translation. The beauty of a publication such as Canon Translation Review lies not entirely with the final product, but also with the complex processes of collaboration between editors, translators, and authors, both living and dead. We invite you, the reader, to become an active participant in our work.

Meg Berkobien & Marisa Gies

Tagged as: