Sympathy for the Traitor: The Art of Literary Translation (Part One) [Podcast]

Posted by Lee Densmer
on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 @ 10:27 AM

Sympathy for the Traitor: The Art of Literary Translation (Part One) [Podcast] Is literary translation only a bridge between one language to another, or is it an art in and of itself? Is literary work more glamorous or challenging than technical or marketing translation? And is it even possible to render a faithful translation of literature without diminishing or losing the author’s original artistic intent?

The answers might surprise you.

This episode of Globally Speaking is the first in a two-part series of conversations with Mark Polizzotti, a translator, publisher, and writer who has translated over two dozen literary works from French to English. He is also the author of “Sympathy for the Traitor,” a fascinating discourse on what, in his view, literary translation is and isn’t.

Topics include:

  • How Mark developed into a skilled literary translator
  • Why he believes translators are co-creators with the author
  • How some translated works can convey the author’s vision even better than the original
  • How translated literature both benefits and threatens lesser-spoken languages
  • The ongoing role of human translators versus machine translation

To listen to the episode, click “play” in the player below. You can also listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play (USA or Canada), Stitcher, Podbean, via RSS or at


And to learn more about the Globally Speaking program, go to, where you can listen to and download full transcripts of all episodes.

Topics: Globally Speaking Podcast


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