Translation Woes

I’ve been spending the week translating a short story and a couple of poems, all by Libyan authors, for the Words Without Borders anthology. It’s been spanking me. This has been quite possibly the most difficult batch of translations I’ve ever done; at some point I was looking up 3 out of every 5 words. Which is very unusual for me. It’s interesting, because most of my translation work has been for Palestinian, Egyptian, and Lebanese authors. I won’t make any generalizations, but I was wondering to myself today if Libyan authors’– or possibly North African writers’ – usage of Arabic is more crafty and intricate than others’ in the region. Hmmm. Maybe my Arabic’s just getting rusty…

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