presse : interviews

N. N.

Translators' Questionnaire

1. How many works of living authors have you translated?

c. 60

2. Have you ever attempted to contact an author to ask a question or clarify an ambiguous point in the text?


3. Were you successful in contacting them? (If no, proceed to question 6)


4. How would you describe the outcome of this contact (helpful, not helpful)?

Mostly very helpful, except for those instances where the author himself could not (or no longer) provide the answer or didn’t see the problem. Some authors know their past works better than others …

5. If helpful, in what way? If not, what do you feel the reasons were?

Some authors are extremely conscientious and eager to guide you through their work, others less so, possibly because they are preoccupied with new work or indeed inundated with similar requests (and other target languages produce other obstacles and thus questions).

6. Did the publisher who commissioned the translation offer you the option of contacting the author?

No, sometimes publishers can even seem to be on their guard, preferring not to encourage direct contact between author and translator.

7. Did you ask for such an option?

I either know the authors anyway (e.g. here in Ireland), possibly even having suggested their work for translation, or I ask for a contact (e-mail) address.

8. Would you consider attempting to contact an author in the future to ask a question or clarify an ambiguous point in the text?

I will always consider it but as I live in the country of my source language (Ireland), I can quite often consult with members of that source culture who might be able to assist me, without having to “bother” the author. However, I do notice that I am much more in contact with my authors now than I used to be in the past.

9. In general terms, would you consider communication between the author and the translator to be beneficial for the quality of a translation?

Yes, for as long as the author does not claim or assume to have sufficient knowledge of the target language (or to know people with such knowledge) and does not interfere with your translation (I sometimes hear of such cases …).

10. Please feel free to add further comments, should you have any.

(14. August 2005)