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  • Gelasimov_Rachel_Cover
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  • Walpurgis Night cover
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Marian Schwartz

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Marian Schwartz has translated over sixty volumes of Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, and Mikhail Lermontov. Her most recent book translations are Andrei Gelasimov’s Rachel  (AmazonCrossing), Yuri Mamleyev's The Sublimes (Haute Culture), and Venedikt Erofeev's Walpurgis Night. Her new translation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina was published by Yale University Press in Fall 2014. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Best Translation of Contemporary Russian Literature and is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.

 

If You're Thinking of Translating . . .

Join me and renowned Russian translator Jamey Gambrell on Saturday, March 28th, from 10a to 5p, for a day-long Russian Language Development Workshop at the University of Texas, at the College of Liberal Arts Building (CLA), Room 0.104

In this one-day professionalization workshop, students of Russian language—from advanced graduate students to undergraduates—will be introduced to translation as a career path or as a means of earning supplementary income by utilizing their language skills. Students will gain a comprehensive overview of the field of translation careers, with a focus on three major areas: translation of literary works (poetry, prose and memoir); oral interpreting in various contexts; and non-literary translation in the digital age (i.e., legal documents, smartphone apps, video games and computer-assisted tools). Workshop participants will attend roundtable discussions with highly-trained specialists from each area to gain experienced insight into the field.

By attending this workshop, students will gain first-hand knowledge of professional translation—theoretical and applied—from specialists in the translation field. The experience gained from the workshop will grant participants an opportunity to match translation projects and job opportunities with their present language skills and consider the steps necessary for expanding their expertise and searching for jobs in the translation field. Additionally, the first-hand knowledge gained during this workshop will grant important insight to students as they pursue graduate research in various fields, including Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Public Affairs, Government, Comparative Literature and Anthropology.

For complete info, click here.

 

Anna Karenina: A New Take on the Russian Classic!

 

Please join me on Thursday, March 26th, at 5:30pm, for this exciting panel about my new translation of Anna Karenina!  I'll be joined by Dr. Gary Saul Morson, Frances Hooper Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University, who wrote the brilliant introduction, and Dr. Tatiana Kuzmic, Tolstoy scholar and Assistant Professor at the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies,UT-Austin.

If you'd like to purchase the book directly, please visit the Yale University Press website.

First Reviews in for Daria Wilke's "Playing a Part"

PlayingAPart coverI'm very happy to announce that in March Arthur A. Levine Books will be publishing my translation of Daria Wilke's wonderful young adult novel Playing a Part--about a boy growing up in a Moscow puppet theater, where his parents perform--and the good reviews have started to come in. The book made headlines when it was originally published amid the enactment of laws forbidding the distribution of gay "propaganda" to minors (see the Publishers Weekly review).

Kirkus Reviews says that  "readers will be engrossed by the plot hatched by Grisha and Sashok to get Lyolik back and moved by the story's themes and the rich, image-laden language: 'The theater starts murmuring, speaking, tramping, and rustling.' A lovely, moving novel with a bittersweet conclusion."

VOYA praises it as well: "The beautifully drawn characters entice readers into the story, which, although small in scope, illuminates crucially important issues about sexual identity, acceptance, and the pressure to conform. The book is unique in that it highlights the problems encountered by teens who are gender neutral or still exploring their sexual identity. The writing is lyrical and the imagery vivid."

Watch this space for more reviews, as they appear.

 

The Translator's Answerability

In his blog--the unlight bearableness of translating a really great title--Russell Scott Valentino follows up on his previous post on Masha Gessen's review of the two new translations of Anna Karenina. He begins the post:

My previous post on Masha Gessen's review of the two new Anna Karenina translations, one each by Rosamund Bartlett and Marian Schwartz, attrAK Gessen reviewacted some criticisms. I'll respond in a couple of posts to make each one shorter.

Schwartz AKJohn Cowan comments, "You write as if the translator had no responsibility to the author at all, and it is all one whether the AK translator writes 'All happy families are alike' on the first page, or 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.'"

I hope this wasn't a widespread impression from my piece. But maybe I wasn't clear enough. A glance at the Weinberger essay I quote from should dispel any lingering doubts, especially where he writes: "Now obviously a translation that is replete with semantical errors is probably a bad translation."Bartlett AK Outside of parodying or otherwise hijacking a text for other purposes, it's hard to imagine a context where switching a Tolstoy line for a Dickens line would be seen as a successful translation strategy.

But why the "probably" in Weinberger's quote? Because "fidelity may be the most overrated of a translation's qualities." It is the easiest thing to get right. Not easy of course, just the easiest.

 

I'm looking forward to the next installment.