May 29, 2014
Translation Prize winner in fiction shares insights on literature and translation.
Adriana Hunter was awarded the 2013 Translation Prize in Fiction for her translation of Eléctrico W by Hervé Le Tellier (Other Press).
Adriana Hunter “stumbled across” the first book she was to translate, Geneviève Jurgensen’s La Disparition (The Disappearance), in 1998 and has since translated nearly 60 books, mostly of literary fiction. She won the 2011 Scott-Moncrieff Prize for her translation of Véronique Olmi’s Bord de Mer (Beside the Sea), and has been short-listed three times for the French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize, and twice for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. She lives in Norfolk, England.
Eléctrico W // By the celebrated Oulipo writer, this brilliant and witty novel set in Lisbon explores love, relationships, and the strange balance between literature and life. Journalist, writer, and translator Vincent Balmer moves to Lisbon to escape a failing affair. During his first assignment there, he teams up with Antonio — a photographer who has just returned to the city after a ten-year absence — to report for a French newspaper on an infamous serial killer’s trial. Eléctrico W recounts their nine days together and the adventures that proliferate to form a constellation of successive ephemeral connections and relationships.
Eléctrico W is not the first book by Hervé Le Tellier that you translate. What does interest you in Hervé Le Tellier as a writer in general, and in this book in particular?
Let’s talk a little more about the projects you have done throughout your career, having translated nearly 60 works. How do you choose the works you translate? Is there a choice? How do you come across your translation projects?
Tell us a little bit about your translation process. How do you replicate a writer’s voice? Do you feel as if you must get into the character’s heads as a translator, the same way a writer might, or is really about recreating the voice and tone of the writer him or herself?
How would you describe Le Tellier’s work? Where do you think Le Tellier fits into the current French literary scene?
In addition to Le Tellier, you clearly have a very rich understanding of the current literature coming from France. Who are some of the contemporary French authors you would like to translate?
You’ve been a Translation Prize finalist twice before, and now you’ve won. Congratulations. What is your response to winning the Translation Prize, and what do you think is the value of this Prize for translators and for the literary world?