What does it take to be a good translator?

"You need instinct, empathy, sensitivity, passion, and dispassion. You need a thick skin, a good ear, a strong gut, and fingers that can fly like the wind. You need humility and chutzpah. You need to be ready to defend your choices, particularly your punctuation. Because people get incensed about punctuation. One would think they had been beaten about the head with semi-colons or mugged by a roving gang of em dashes. You need to meander, read comic books, read cookbooks, listen to languages you don't understand, and be an avid reader of packaging. You need to find poetry in the banal, you need to defend your punctuation some more, and you need to kill your darlings."

from Rhonda Mullins' funny, entertaining, and on-the-money contribution to "Culture in Transit: Translating the Literature of Quebec" from Véhicule Press


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