From Dalkey Archive Press, Translation in Practice: A Symposium, edited by Gill Paul:

Though translation is a vital part of any vibrant literary culture, no practical guide to the process of translating foreign works into English and preparing them for publication has yet been made available to prospective translators, editors, or readers. In February 2008, editors and translators from the US and UK came together at the British Council in London to discuss “best practices” for translation of literary works into English. This volume comprises the results of that meeting, a collection of summaries, suggestions, and instructions from the leading literary translators and publishers. It is intended as an introduction, the first in an ongoing series of documents to be published by Dalkey Archive Press that will address the challenges faced by translators, publishers, reviewers, and readers of literary translations.

The best part? They make it available as a free pdf (742 KB). (Via MetaFilter.)


  1. “Bring creative energy and imagination to the work”? This is a thoughtless and horrible thing to say.

  2. I have an allergic reaction to the word “vibrant”.

  3. I’ve just skim-read the document. It’s all common sense and a good description of accepted practices. Thanks for posting this.

  4. It’s just as plausible as “Fred Z”‘s suggestion in that thread that viking is “from the German ‘ficken’, ‘to f*ck’.”

  5. In other words, not at all. But (purely by coincidence) the Urdu word posh is one of the possible sources suggested by actual etymologists; here’s the OED (draft revision Sept. 2010):

    Origin unknown.
      It is possible that the word arose as a transferred use of POSH n.1 ['halfpenny,' from Romani], POSH n.3 ['a dandy,' origin unknown] (compare quot. 1912 at POSH n.3 ["If he described another [tailor] as a great ‘posh,’ which means well-dressed, the whistle would place him in a.. ridiculous light”]), or both of these; the semantic development may thus have been either from ‘money’ to ‘moneyed, wealthy’, and hence to ‘upper-class’ and ‘smart, stylish, luxurious’, or alternatively from ‘dandy’ to ‘upper-class‘ and ‘smart, stylish, luxurious’.
      An alternative suggestion derives the word < Urdu safed-pōś dressed in white, well-dressed, also used as a colloquial and derogatory term for ‘affluent’ < safed white (safed (Old Persian saped)) + pōś covering, also ‘clothed in, wearing’ (< Persian pōś: see PAPOOSH n.). However, this poses phonological problems and there is no direct evidence for the transition into English.

  6. I’ve read the whole thing now. I was prepared to be annoyed by the front matter apparently limiting it to “literary [read: non-genre] fiction”, but what it says is perfectly sensible for the translation of any fiction, or non-fiction for that matter.

  7. Rather disappointed to find that one of the websites they recommend ( has already been decommissioned. Thanks, Con-Lib government…
    It’s a pretty good guide, I thought! As someone who’s just trying to get started as a translator, I found that a lot of questions I didn’t realize that I had were answered by it. Love the Dalkey Archive; they’re definitely one of the good guys.

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