Nexus

2/3: White men can’t translate?

Should white people be banned from translating black poets? Poets like Amanda Gorman. The reading of her poem 'The Hill we climb' at the inauguration of Joe Biden back in January resonated with many and her and Gorman’s publishers were having it translated into 17 languages when suddenly their plans were attacked on Twitter by Janice Deul - a self-described ‘cultural activist’ from the Netherlands who has less than 3,000 followers. She complained that the Dutch translator - Marieke Lucas Rijneveld - was the wrong choice because she’s white. Marieke, who is the youngest author to win the International Booker Prize - pulled out as a result. All of the other translators including Catalan translator Victor Obiols and Spanish translator Nuria Barrios have since found themselves dropped by Gorman’s publishers.

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