Laura’s Question: How easy or difficult it was to work on the translation, considering that the book was written in dialogues and so much imagery was involved?
I really enjoyed working on the dialogue. It felt almost like translating a play sometimes! I have to confess to sitting there in front of my computer and talking to myself occasionally, just to check that the dialogue worked. One aspect that I spent some time thinking about was the absence of quotation marks in the book. I tried inserting quotation marks in one short section to see what effect it would have, but it just didn’t feel like Jan’s text anymore. I did perhaps normalise the text a little, by, for example, inserting the names of the speakers at points where I felt the attribution wasn’t quite clear or by rearranging the order of the elements in the dialogue to something that felt more natural in English, but I decided to stick with Jan’s choice not to employ quotation marks.
One interesting point about the amount of dialogue in that text was that the short lines made the book thicker than Peirene’s other titles. Peirene aim to keep their books under 200 pages, which was a challenge on this occasion because so much of the page was taken up by very short lines: ‘Yes.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘No.’ Tomorrow Pamplona may look longer than Peirene’s other titles, but that’s mainly because dialogue is such an important feature of this book.
This translation was a real pleasure to work on, as the original text flows so well and the tension is so strong.