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Translation as Transhumance

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Mireille Gansel grew up in the traumatic aftermath of her family losing everything—including their native languages—to Nazi Germany. In the 1960s and 70s, she translated poets from East Berlin and Vietnam. Gansel’s debut conveys the estrangement every translator experiences by moving between tongues, and muses on how translation becomes an exercise of empathy between those ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by The Feminist Press at CUNY
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  91 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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World Literature Today
"For Gansel, translation is a wholly committed sort of engagement, one that compels her to learn Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, travel to Vietnam in the early 1970s, live in a war zone, and compile an anthology of Vietnamese poetry in French, based on her immersion in studying not just the language but also the music and culture of the people. Gansel writes that the only German her Jewish Hungarian father knew was the phrase “Du bist ein Stück Fleisch mit zwei Augen”: You are a piece of meat ...more
Darren Cormier
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mireille Gansel's life was shaped by words, her thoughts, her inquisitive nature. As a very young child her father would read letters from relatives in Budapest and would struggle with some of the nuances of the nouns and labels.
"To my delight the section of the letter my father was reading was about me. He initially translated a word used by his brother or one of his sisters as "beloved," stumbled over the next word and repeated this...and then repeated this a second time. I asked, 'But in Hun
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I happened across this beautiful book by chance while browsing at the library and I’m so glad that I picked it up. Set aside a couple hours of your day to sit down and let yourself fall into it. This book is a fascinating and introspective meditation on humanity; the importance that literature and language hold in carrying us through life, bringing people closer together or realizing what separates them. If you love reading or are interested in the intricacies of language and expression this boo ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
Interesting, poetic, heartfelt exploration of language and translation, which for the author is a process of going deeply into another person's writing and life to excavate the emotions, experiences, deeper connotations of one writer's work in order first to understand it (as much as possible) in all its dimensions, and then translate it into another form/another language. To choose just one quote from the book "translation, a hand reaching from one shore to another where there is no bridge." I ...more
Anyone who has ever read a book in translation (which is most people, I would think), should read this short, exquisite book. Gansel's thoughts on the importance of translations being immersed in culture (on both ends of the writing/reading), are important and affirmed by her experiences as a translator post-WWII and in the Vietnam War. One of my favorite nonfiction reads.
M M Shah
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hansel describes, in this short and focused memoir, the role of empathy in giving meaning to words, and how humanistic study develops that empathy. She argues that "no word that speaks of what is human is untranslatable."

I read Hansel's book while abroad, and her thoughts shaped my experience. And all this even though the translation required was from one English to another English.
georgia bookblast
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Translation as Transhumance is a rich and resonant read. The lucid, concise prose of award-winning translator, Ros Schwartz, brings alive an exceptional life dedicated to translation as activism.

Reviewed on The BookBlast® Diary 2017
Rebecca Rebecca
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Devastatingly beautiful. A set of autobiographical reflections on translation, this book breathes its title in the author's accounts of visiting the places in which the authors she translates lived. Strongly recommended for anyone who translates, or who teaches other to do so.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
4,25 stars
Borders (Re)Imagined
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and thought-provoking text that flows effortlessly between languages.
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