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April 8: A Speaking Volumes Lecture

Originally Posted on admin, April 8, 2008

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Santa Fe 
April 8: A Speaking Volumes Lecture - “The Art of the Literary Translator”

WHAT:  A Speaking Volumes Lecture

WHO:   Tiina Nunnally

TITLE:   “The Art of the Literary Translator”

WHERE:  Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

WHEN: Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 7 p.m.

COST:  This event is free of charge and open to the public.


Many people consider translation to be a strange, even mysterious, process. Like any art, translation requires both practical skills and inherent talents. The literary translator must have the knowledge of a linguist, the finesse of a musician, the dedication of an actor, and the intuition of an alchemist. She must learn to speak in the voice of the author and on behalf of the text, without allowing her own voice or perceptions to intrude. She must be patient and tenacious, a disciplined researcher, and a good detective. And she must learn to accept that a translation will never be perfect, no matter how close it comes to conveying the tone and intent of the original text.

Drawing on nearly twenty-five years of experience, Tiina Nunnally will discuss the joys and pitfalls of translating both classic literature and contemporary fiction into English.

Tiina Nunnally has translated over forty books from the Scandinavian languages into English. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Her translation of The Royal Physician’s Visit by Per Olov Enquist was short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2003. She has also held an NEA Translation Fellowship. Nunnally’s translations include books by Sigrid Undset, Peter Høeg, Astrid Lindgren, and Hans Christian Andersen. Nunnally makes her living as a literary translator and frequently gives lectures and workshops on translation. She lives in Albuquerque.

After twenty minutes for questions and answers, a reception and book signing will follow in the Junior Common Room. This lecture is sponsored by the Friends of St. John’s College.