Friday, October 13, 2006

Be prepared in case of important award

From a report in the Chicago Tribune by reporter Patrick T. Reardon:

Orhan Pamuk, who won the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, once had a doozy of a friendly argument with Guneli Gun over the word "doozies."

Gun, a novelist and occasional college teacher in Oberlin, Ohio, is the translator of two of Pamuk's novels, "The New Life" and "The Black Book." And it was during her work on the latter book, she said, that Pamuk took umbrage over her use of the word "doozies" in his central character's newspaper column.

"The Turkish word [used by Pamuk] can be translated `strange' or `odd,' but `doozy' is such a vibrant word," Gun recalled Thursday. "And the Turkish word had a kind of colloquial sound to it."

Pamuk, Turkey's best-known writer, gave in then, but not always. "We had a lot of fights," she said. "Sometimes, he would win, and, sometimes, I would win. It was a lot of fun."

Note to self: If one of my authors wins Nobel Prize for work I translated, prepare a humourous, self-deprecating anecdote to reveal to reporters. Probably prudent to discuss same with author beforehand. Upon reading the Tribune article, I could picture Orhan and Güneli going over this together.

Further translation-related comments from the article:
Gun said she became a good friend of Pamuk's during the 1990s when she was translating his books. "He speaks good English but he doesn't have the same facility writing English as he does writing Turkish," she said.

In addition to squabbles over words such as "doozies," Gun said the most notable difficulty she had in turning Pamuk's Turkish into English was his sentence structure. "His sentences have become much shorter, but, in his earlier work, he had sentences that would go on for two pages," she said.

That was bad enough, but in Turkish, the verb and subject pronoun usually show up at the end of the sentence.

"I was doing a lot of acrobatic work so it sounded good in English," Gun said.

What do people who read Güneli Gün also read?


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