Translating and Hate: Should the Translator Be Held Responsible for ‘Politically Problematic’ Texts?
Yesterday, responses to this question by Yardenne Greenspan — a Hebrew translator and the Asymptote editor-at-large for Israel — and I were placed together, as though we were debating the question. Really, though, we speak about quite different things:
Greenspan writes about how to deal with the Hebrew slur kushi, and indeed, moving racial slurs and other insults from language to language is a mess. She looks at several different possibilities: What if the writer is being inadvertently racist? (Ugh.) What if the writer is putting the slur in the mouth of a racist character? (Well, that should be fine.) And what if the writer is just a flaming, drop-the-ball-and-kick-it racist? (Well….)
These are good questions, and could also be applied to Arabic, or English. But…
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