The Life of a Translator


The Life of a Translator
By Jonathan Dunne
Smalll Stations Press – £4.95

I have to say, I struggled with this book, primarily for two reasons.

On the one hand, I particularly enjoyed The Life of a Translator where it shared the science of the English language and generally investigated the trajectory of its grass roots and all round word play: ”The tranlsator, in his work, criss-crosses the line. He is forced to inhabit the line, the existence of which he denies. We are all to some extent tranlsators, forced on to the margins. We find this in startling circumstances in no man’s land, which forms a muddy scar between two opposing forces. But anyone who has visited the site of a previous battle will attest to the fact that, years later, grass has sprung up where the scar was.”

What I didn’t enjoy, and to be honest, found got in the way of thoroughly understanding, if not accepting what I was reading; was the partial persistence of religiosity scattered amid these 101 pages: ”Lamb gives blame. Christ took the blame for our sins on the Cross. In essence, we translators needed a translator to understand God, and Christ came down to be this, to provide a way (a parable is Braillea-i, b-p – a form of writing for the blind) […]. I believe that, after birth, we continue to be spiritually blind. We need spiritual healing so that we can hear. This healing comes from Christ, just as he healed the man born blind in John’s Gospel. He opens our eyes and we begin to see things around us we hadn’t noticed before, another dimension.”

Another dimension indeed; but not one I found essentially pertinent with regards the life of a translator.

David Marx

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