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The Art of Translation

Here is my contribution to a conversation on literary translation published in "Write," the the magazine of the Writers’ Union of Canada, Summer 2020, I thank writer Rhonda Kronyk for this opportunity.

It is not enough to know two languages to translate literature, especially when cultural reclamation is becoming a larger discussion among translators.

We can’t use Google translator to express the richness and wealth of the culture that is behind the language. As humans, we are much deeper than machines, which can’t translate the meanings behind the words. That’s the main role of the translator. We are a bridge between cultures more than just a bridge between languages.

“The Art of Translation: A Conversation with…”, pp. 14-16

Arianna Dagnino is a bilingual writer (Italian/English), literary translator, and lecturer. She has published books of fiction and nonfiction in both languages. Among them, The Afrikaner (Guernica, 2019), a woman scientist’s quest into the African wilderness; its German translation was launched at the FBM 2020. With her colleague Dr. Ernest Mathijs, she has also written a screenplay based on the book. Arianna teaches Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada and of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada. Her first book of poems, Seaborn Eyes, has just been published by Ekstasis Editions in Victoria, BC.

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