A Summer Project

via WebDonuts.com

After yet another whirlwind couple of weeks, I’m back, and hopefully, will be here more regularly again. Finals are over (my report card is hanging proudly on the fridge…not really, just in my head), Eurovision is over (sorry for the lack of documentation this year, but summary: it was pretty awesome), I’ve started working full time at The Grapevine (just for the summer), am older (30!) and, I think, wiser, and am working on adjusting to this crazy surplus of sunlight we now have. (Seriously, it is quite difficult to differentiate between 3 AM and 10:30 PM and were it not for all the sleeping I did this winter, I think the wonky light and shifty sleep schedule would be making me a bit nutty.)

With homework out of the way for a few months and just the one job to focus on (which, wow, is WONDROUS), I’ve been reading, coffee-dating, taking a lot of long walks, eating ice cream, hosting elaborate potluck parties, and getting started on a project which I was encouraged to jump into a few months ago by a very encouraging translator friend. Namely, this summer, I am going to work on my first Icelandic translation. My friend is a very kind man and maybe has more faith in my skills than I do—he suggested that I start right off working on a novel. And while I did pick up some novels that looked like they could be promising, I ultimately decided that I’d be a little more comfortable beginning with a short story. (Baby steps onto the bus.) A few very enjoyable hours perusing and researching in the library and I found a promising collection and it just so happens that my totally random system of selecting a starter story simply on the basis of the fact that a) I could read the title and the first sentence without a dictionary and b) it is only ten pages long worked out pretty well. I really like this story, guys, and I’m pleased that I’ll be spending my time on it this summer.

(Sorry to be coy about the title—I feel like I will jinx myself somehow if I tell you, The Internet, specifically what I’m working on. So for now, it’ll just have to be my seeecrrett, like the man says.)

The thing is, I (obviously) have no real method, or system. So I’ve been slowly troubling one out for myself. I started by reading the story through without any dictionaries or aids, and acclimated myself with the major plot points and character traits and features of the writing style. Now, I’m working through it more slowly, with dictionaries and whatever aids I can access myself, in the hopes of producing a rough but readable draft within the next few weeks. Then I’ll go over the story and my translation again, cleaning it up where I can and this time making notes of passages I think might be problematic, tonal inconsistencies, or turns of phrase which aren’t working quite right. Then, hopefully, I’ll find an obliging bilingual reader who can help me with some of these questions. And *then,* once I have a pretty solid draft, I’d like to contact the author, ask to talk through lingering questions with her, and see what she thinks of my eventually (with further proofing etc.) trying to get the translation placed in a journal or publication.

Ta-da!

I’m sure there will be some methodological (and timeline) revisions along the way, but it’s exciting to have a project like this, and great to be actually attempting to do what I came here to do!

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