I couldn’t have lived off the translation I have done. Even if I had done three times as much. Simon Leys, who says in that essay that he took 18 years to translate Two Years Before the Mast, by R. H. Dana, is at one end of the spectrum, and the full-time professional translator, who has to take on all sorts of jobs, is at the other. I work somewhere in between: I have to respect the author and his or her project, but I don’t have to feel that I would have liked to write each book myself. One of the satisfying things about translation is that you are making a new experience possible in the world: the experience of reading X in English, which simply couldn’t be had before.
Translator extraordinaire Chris Andrews the work of translation in general, being an Australian translator, and the literature of César Aira and Roberto Bolaño. [via BOMB Magazine]