It is interesting how everyone or all (in the PUBLIC only twice on Friday) rushed to defend the opinion that a young black poet (Amanda Gorman) can be translated by a young Dutch white writer, or in the Catalan case by an old one white translator. Of course you can. The problem has more to do with sensitivities and less with freedoms or rights. It’s interesting how many talk about poetry, prose, or technical books, and no one mentions that it’s mostly about missed opportunities, after all – as in the recent case of the Portuguese version of the Disney film Soul. Nobody doubts that the white voices were as good as the black (but they weren’t any better, Helas). There is talk of the missed opportunity to hire black actors who, in general, have few opportunities.
In a country that translated Minha from Africa for Africa, in which all Woody Allen films have translation problems due to a lack of Jewish experience, in which many books have poor translations – not because the translator does not know the language academically, but because he does You don’t know the language. Experience and experience of the language at the scene of the action – does anyone know how many black authors are published in Portugal each year? In the United States, they make up 5% of all fiction – draw conclusions.
It does not seem to me that the experience of racism or rape can even be “imagined” as suggested in any of the opinion articles. The suggestion to use a black translator before discussing it in the area of sensitivity and closeness should be discussed in the context of employment and the work reality of numbers.
The chance of delivering this translation work to a black person is only symbolic, but what is poetry about if not symbols? Wasn’t it just as symbolic that the young poet was chosen to serve as the inauguration of a new white President of the United States? Using the previous experience of the white translator as an argument at the expense of a possible black translator is a dangerous argument. If we don’t give jobs to black translators – because whites seem an obvious and immediate option – how can we appeal to their lack of experience?
That many feel sorry for the non-binary author or the old Catalan man, but do not think about the possibly even more interesting translators who do not appear, as they by default show the inability to look at the other and try to see how the other one. It is regrettable, but normal, that there are collateral casualties on this route. Now it is common in Portugal for whites to talk about their experience of racism, add an anecdote abroad in which they were a little mistreated as Portuguese, and a fleeting moment in their life with the constant and frightening presence of racism or anti- Reconciling Racism. Semitism in the life of a black or a Jew, as one who puts anti-racism and the extreme right in the same sentence and in similar antipodes of Portuguese society (which happened recently with the Prime Minister).
I am referring to my experience as an artist that Pompidou should buy and twice not, the first because I am not a woman and the second because I am not African. Is that fair I do not believe that. It is necessary? I have no doubt
I will not escape this pathetic habit and fall back on my experience as an artist which Pompidou was supposed to buy and twice it was not accurate and explicit in the first because I am not a woman and in the second because I am not African . Is that fair I do not believe that. It is necessary? I have no doubt. It is necessary to go to tremendous efforts to redress the imbalance of the last few centuries and to try to restore some justice. My bad luck to be an artist now, not to be a woman, not to be an African, but I don’t cry about it, on the contrary.
But white translators and writers come to write opinion articles about it and there is no balance in this newspaper, it has more serious consequences because it reaffirms the lazy position of a majority: if there are no black translators or writers, we attract you must not even looking for them, neither appreciating nor understanding them. These are the opinions that maintain the status quo of a society that is well protected in its hierarchies. We all have very positive opinions, namely those who write in newspapers. And that they are almost always the same, the same, the same.