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Wanted: Black women English to Dutch translators

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Gerard Barry
Alemania
Local time: 15:20
alemán a inglés
Really? Mar 19

Gerard de Noord wrote:

Poets have a hard time making money and I'm glad Gorman had a break. Assigning the translation job to Rijneveld - an International Booker Prize winner - was a commercially sound idea. Assigning it to a translator would have been even better. But in my opinion the best idea would have been to give a young Dutch female poet of colour a break. They don’t get too many.

I suggest Lauwtje:
https://youtu.be/b4EGqgw8lpQ


Why do you assume that "young Dutch female poets of colour" don't get too many breaks? How many "young Dutch female poets of colour" are there anyway? I'm guessing not too many. Poets are actually not that numerous you know.


sailingshoes
Daryo
 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 15:20
Miembro 2003
inglés a neerlandés
+ ...
Let's level first Mar 21

Gerard Barry wrote:
Why do you assume that "young Dutch female poets of colour" don't get too many breaks? How many "young Dutch female poets of colour" are there anyway? I'm guessing not too many. Poets are actually not that numerous you know.


Let's level first.

I don't live in the Netherlands, and you don't. From your profile I gather you're an Irishman living in Germany. I'm a Dutchman living in France.

I know Dutch poets, your ProZ profile states that you translate from German to English. I'd love to discuss with any ProZ member about young Dutch speaking female poets of colour, but only if they can name at least two young Dutch speaking female poets they've read and admired.

Gerard, you'd be amazed if you knew how many people try to break through with poems, raps and spoken word. They must revert to publishing themselves or not being published at all.

The Gorman translation could be an opportunity to stand in the limelight, to get noticed and to get published.

Cheers,
Gerard de Noord


Chris S
sailingshoes
 

Gerard Barry
Alemania
Local time: 15:20
alemán a inglés
Assignment of victim status Mar 22

Gerard de Noord wrote:

Gerard Barry wrote:
Why do you assume that "young Dutch female poets of colour" don't get too many breaks? How many "young Dutch female poets of colour" are there anyway? I'm guessing not too many. Poets are actually not that numerous you know.


Let's level first.

I don't live in the Netherlands, and you don't. From your profile I gather you're an Irishman living in Germany. I'm a Dutchman living in France.

I know Dutch poets, your ProZ profile states that you translate from German to English. I'd love to discuss with any ProZ member about young Dutch speaking female poets of colour, but only if they can name at least two young Dutch speaking female poets they've read and admired.

Gerard, you'd be amazed if you knew how many people try to break through with poems, raps and spoken word. They must revert to publishing themselves or not being published at all.

The Gorman translation could be an opportunity to stand in the limelight, to get noticed and to get published.

Cheers,
Gerard de Noord


But why do you assume that it would harder for a young non-white Dutch female poet to be successful than anyone else? Seems to me like you're giving a sort of victim status to non-white Dutch people, which most of them perhaps don't want or even deserve.


Daryo
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 15:20
Miembro 2018
francés a inglés
. Mar 22

Gerard Barry wrote:

Why do you assume that "young Dutch female poets of colour" don't get too many breaks? How many "young Dutch female poets of colour" are there anyway? I'm guessing not too many. Poets are actually not that numerous you know.


There are more poets than poetry-lovers.

There are more would-be poets than is possible to imagine.


Zibow Retailleau
Chris S
Gerard de Noord
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Daryo
 

Anthony John Keily
Local time: 15:20
Miembro
italiano a inglés
+ ...
No need to assume Mar 25

Gerard Barry wrote:

Why do you assume that "young Dutch female poets of colour" don't get too many breaks?


Activist Janice Deul, in her Volkskrant piece that kicked the whole shitstorm off, actually saves us the effort of having to assume:

"Not to be found, you say? I would like to share a few names from my personal network. A list that is by no means complete: Munganyende Hélène Christelle, Rachel Rumai, Zaire Krieger, Rellie Telg, Lisette MaNeza, Babs Gons, Sanguilla Vabrie, Alida Aurora, Pelumi Adejumo, Schiavone Simson. Each and every one of them a talent that enriches the literary landscape and that often struggles for recognition for years. What would it be like to have one of them do the job? Wouldn't that make Gorman's message more powerful?... talent of colour should be seen, heard and cherished. Release their work too, hire them too and pay them accordingly. Black spoken word artists matter. Even if they are homegrown.”

Maybe thanks to Deul's intervention Babs Gons was invited to read at the Dutch Book Week...


Chris S
Michael Wetzel
 

Gerard Barry
Alemania
Local time: 15:20
alemán a inglés
Poetry/demographics Mar 26

Anthony John Keily wrote:


Gerard Barry wrote:

Why do you assume that "young Dutch female poets of colour" don't get too many breaks?


Activist Janice Deul, in her Volkskrant piece that kicked the whole shitstorm off, actually saves us the effort of having to assume:

"Not to be found, you say? I would like to share a few names from my personal network. A list that is by no means complete: Munganyende Hélène Christelle, Rachel Rumai, Zaire Krieger, Rellie Telg, Lisette MaNeza, Babs Gons, Sanguilla Vabrie, Alida Aurora, Pelumi Adejumo, Schiavone Simson. Each and every one of them a talent that enriches the literary landscape and that often struggles for recognition for years. What would it be like to have one of them do the job? Wouldn't that make Gorman's message more powerful?... talent of colour should be seen, heard and cherished. Release their work too, hire them too and pay them accordingly. Black spoken word artists matter. Even if they are homegrown.”

Maybe thanks to Deul's intervention Babs Gons was invited to read at the Dutch Book Week...


The words of an "activist" complaining about the lack of recognition received by poets of her own race and sex receive doesn't prove anything. It could be just racism and sexism on her part ("Give more recognition to people like me! I have a complex because I'm black in a majority-white country and you're a racist if you dare challenge my sense of entitlement!). Narcissism is everywhere nowadays. Personally, I'd like to see more recognition for low-paid workers (of both sexes and all races and ethnicities) and not necessarily for poets who overestimate their own abilities and the contribution of their "work" to society.


Daryo
 

Daryo
Reino Unido
Local time: 14:20
serbio a inglés
+ ...
What about these? Mar 26

Histoire d'O
Written under a pseudonym - a female name. Real author unknown for 40 years. Most people convinced that "... the book could only have been written by a man" Turned out the author was a woman.

So according to this "US publisher" who could have been "an approved translator" during the 40 years when the real author was unknown? A man or a women?

Another book I stumbled upon, quite interesting read, the "autobiography" of a black woman livi
... See more
Histoire d'O
Written under a pseudonym - a female name. Real author unknown for 40 years. Most people convinced that "... the book could only have been written by a man" Turned out the author was a woman.

So according to this "US publisher" who could have been "an approved translator" during the 40 years when the real author was unknown? A man or a women?

Another book I stumbled upon, quite interesting read, the "autobiography" of a black woman living in Africa. Very realistic, written like the author is "native" to the country, and well received in that country. Only "minor detail", the author is in fact a white male living in Europe.

Who would be "this US publisher approved translator" for that one?

Possibly too complicated questions for those whose worldview is limited to "Four legs good, two legs bad!" ...
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Gerard Barry
IrinaN
 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 15:20
alemán a inglés
Cancel Culture and Snowflakes Mar 29

“Not to take anything away from Rijneveld’s qualities, but why not chose a writer who is -- just like Gorman -- spoken word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black.” Agree or disagree, find it relevant to the context of translation or not, isn't that a patently reasonable question?

Based on the information provided by a tiny article, I don't see "mob rule" or "racism" here. I see a reasonable statement made by a reasonable person in a reasonable manner leading to the or
... See more
“Not to take anything away from Rijneveld’s qualities, but why not chose a writer who is -- just like Gorman -- spoken word artist, young, female and unapologetically Black.” Agree or disagree, find it relevant to the context of translation or not, isn't that a patently reasonable question?

Based on the information provided by a tiny article, I don't see "mob rule" or "racism" here. I see a reasonable statement made by a reasonable person in a reasonable manner leading to the original translator making the reasonable decision to step back from the project. I also see a publisher grasping the obvious insight that the only reason any of us have ever heard of Amanda Gorman is because some very old white guy in a position of power listened to someone who told him to appoint Gorman as the Poet Laureate for his inauguration. Aha, thought the powers-that-be at the publisher: Someone has pointed out to us that we now have to choose between deciding to do the same thing and deciding not to do the same thing.

I understand that wokeness has its excesses, and I understand that it causes large and annoying problems when people like me get offended on behalf of someone else. And so, I try not to do that. On the other hand, as a pretty straight, upper-class, white male whose only potential claim to minority status would be having grown up Catholic in a Protestant-dominated country (although the KKK and the country clubs forgot they hated us decades ago and, with Biden, we just got our second president), I feel like I have every right to get annoyed with the behavior of people like me.

So, on my own behalf, could people like me please stop teaching people who aren't like me to see me as a whiny, permanently aggrieved snowflake just waiting for the next opportunity to express how unentitled I feel? It is embarassing.
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Chris S
Jean Dimitriadis
Anthony John Keily
Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Anthony John Keily
Local time: 15:20
Miembro
italiano a inglés
+ ...
Have a look at the facts Mar 29

In the Dutch case, the publisher Meulenhoff chose as its “dream candidate” Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, 29. Rijneveld's best known for being the youngest ever author to win the Booker Prize, jointly with Michele Hutchison, who was responsible for The Discomfort of Evening, the English version of De avond is ongemak.

Rijneveld has no background in translation whatsoever or in the slam genre in which Gorman's poem is written. What's more, Rijneveld's English is so poor that the author
... See more
In the Dutch case, the publisher Meulenhoff chose as its “dream candidate” Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, 29. Rijneveld's best known for being the youngest ever author to win the Booker Prize, jointly with Michele Hutchison, who was responsible for The Discomfort of Evening, the English version of De avond is ongemak.

Rijneveld has no background in translation whatsoever or in the slam genre in which Gorman's poem is written. What's more, Rijneveld's English is so poor that the author hasn’t even read the English version of De avond is ongemak that brought international fame, explaining, “My English is very bad, I'm really a bit like the Louis van Gaal of Dutch literature.” (I actually love that!)

Journalist and diversity campaigner Janice Deul described the choice of translator as “incomprehensible” in an opinion piece in the Volksrant newspaper, because Rijneveld had “no experience in the field.” She suggested that there were multiple candidates available who did work in slam and who were better qualified for the job. "Why not choose a writer who - like Gorman - is a spoken word artist, young, female and unapologetically black?"

Deul’s piece caused an online storm and Rijneveld, with considerable calm and grace, stepped down as translator. The affair was widely portrayed as an example of cancel culture based exclusively on skin-colour issues, although Deul’s piece dealt primarily with a number of other questions.

As Deul explained to the BBC: “The performer (Gorman) is someone who's into slam poetry and slam poetry is about flow and rhythm. When you don't know that, the whole form will have a different meaning and rhythm.”

On why she thought a black Dutch person might have been chosen, she explained "I'm not saying a black person can't translate white work, and vice versa… But not this specific poem of this specific orator in this Black Lives Matter area.

Although many didn’t agree with Deul (or more often with the various second-hand versions of her views that were circulated), it’s interesting to hear what Rijneveld’s translator Michele Hutchison has to say: “a translator is judged on the quality of their work, not on their identity - not at all [but] the poem was sent out into the world on a stage, not on paper. So it's not about the translation, it's about the recitation.” According to Hutchison, finding a poet/translator from the spoken word tradition is the “only logical choice”.
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Michael Wetzel
 

Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Grecia
Local time: 16:20
Miembro 2008
griego a inglés
Good explanation Mar 30

Anthony John Keily wrote:
Although many didn’t agree with Deul (or more often with the various second-hand versions of her views that were circulated), it’s interesting to hear what Rijneveld’s translator Michele Hutchison has to say: “a translator is judged on the quality of their work, not on their identity - not at all [but] the poem was sent out into the world on a stage, not on paper. So it's not about the translation, it's about the recitation.” According to Hutchison, finding a poet/translator from the spoken word tradition is the “only logical choice”.


That explanation makes perfect sense, thank you.

However, allow me a little scepticism about Rijneveld's "poor English". In my experience, when a Dutch person says their English is "very bad", it means that they may stumble over a word or two when called upon to discuss, say, the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics.


Chris S
Anthony John Keily
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turquía
Local time: 16:20
Miembro
inglés a turco
When it's bad, it's bad. Mar 30

Philip Lees wrote:
In my experience, when a Dutch person says their English is "very bad", it means that they may stumble over a word or two when called upon to discuss, say, the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics.


My experience somewhat differs from yours. Despite the similarities between Dutch and English languages, and Dutch people's eagerness to practice their English at every opportunity, I find most English texts (which usually happen to be corporate communications or policies) written by native Dutch speakers hard to make sense of, or mediocre at best.
Though I agree that they generally speak good English. Many many years ago I interpreted for a Dutch skipper at a notary office. He spoke very good, fluent English, but when the notary officer asked him to write a few sentences in English (to the effect that he understood the contents of the document), he admitted that he couldn't read or write in English. As a result, the notary officer cancelled the POA and asked that a Dutch to Turkish translator be brought in to complete the transaction. Needless to say, it cost the guy a pretty penny.


P.L.F.Persio
Anthony John Keily
 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 09:20
Miembro 2003
japonés a inglés
+ ...
Black translators Mar 30

Amidst the ongoing Balkanization of life, I see that the Assistant Mayor of Paris, from Martinique, has said that white people should not be allowed to take part in conversations regarding racism. "Taisez-vous, les blancs!" she says. Columbia University is now holding separate (they say "intimate") graduation ceremonies for Blacks, Hispanics, gays and poor people. Soon, separate dormitories and separate dining halls for People of Color. Maybe separate areas of town for people of color....oh wait... See more
Amidst the ongoing Balkanization of life, I see that the Assistant Mayor of Paris, from Martinique, has said that white people should not be allowed to take part in conversations regarding racism. "Taisez-vous, les blancs!" she says. Columbia University is now holding separate (they say "intimate") graduation ceremonies for Blacks, Hispanics, gays and poor people. Soon, separate dormitories and separate dining halls for People of Color. Maybe separate areas of town for people of color....oh wait, that's segregation! Now a segregation of translation. Only white male gays should be allowed to translate Proust. Outrageous that Tolstoy should have been allowed to write Anna Karenina. A male could never be qualified to write about a woman.Collapse


Daryo
Gerard Barry
 

Gerard Barry
Alemania
Local time: 15:20
alemán a inglés
Sad Mar 31

Michael Newton wrote:

Amidst the ongoing Balkanization of life, I see that the Assistant Mayor of Paris, from Martinique, has said that white people should not be allowed to take part in conversations regarding racism. "Taisez-vous, les blancs!" she says. Columbia University is now holding separate (they say "intimate") graduation ceremonies for Blacks, Hispanics, gays and poor people. Soon, separate dormitories and separate dining halls for People of Color. Maybe separate areas of town for people of color....oh wait, that's segregation! Now a segregation of translation. Only white male gays should be allowed to translate Proust. Outrageous that Tolstoy should have been allowed to write Anna Karenina. A male could never be qualified to write about a woman.


Would that be separate graduation ceremonies for Blacks, Hispanics, gays and poor people taken together or separate ceremonies for each of the groups specified? Either way of course it's pathetic but I'm just wondering if a devout Christian black student or a devout Catholic Hispanic student would feel any sort of kinship with someone who was gay? Unfortunately, the followers of intersectionality don't seem to realise that the supposed victim groups that they like to worship often have precious little in common and often have very conflicting interests. It would be interesting, too, to see how they define "poor".


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 15:20
alemán a inglés
Missing the point Mar 31

Gerard and Michael,

Did you read what Anthony wrote?

I'll throw the first rock at my glass house, because Anthony said basically the same thing several pages back. You and I have entirely missed the point, although I have now grasped that fact and apparently you haven't.

The whole story here was a red herring.


Anthony John Keily
 

Anthony John Keily
Local time: 15:20
Miembro
italiano a inglés
+ ...
It's taking a little time seep in Apr 2

Michael Wetzel wrote:

The whole story here was a red herring.


It's just a classic straw man. Obviously Deul never said that in general white translators shouldn't translate black authors (in fact, she said exactly the opposite), but that silly line makes for better clickbait. (The same is true of the Catalan story, if you take a moment to look into it.)


[Edited at 2021-04-02 11:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2021-04-03 07:37 GMT]


Philip Lees
Michael Wetzel
 
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