Being Natural in Book Translations

Anthea Bell, German and French into English literary translator who has won many top awards and whose work has been featured on many bestseller lists, shares a little bit about her work process:

"Though I know some who do, I will never translate a book without having read it through! I like to do a full rough-draft first, because assuming the author is alive and I can ask him or her questions, I’ve then gathered up everything I want to ask. If the author’s dead of course, you can’t do that! But mostly my authors have been alive and are usually very happy to answer questions. After that, I revise and revise. In the end I read through the finished thing in English only, without referring to the foreign original unless something I read pulls me up. Then I think, 'Now what did I mean here, what did the author mean,' and then I go back to the original. In my view, it needs to read as though it had been thought and written in English in the first place."

Complete interview available at Publishers Weekly