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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

Footnotes Like Skyscrapers

Hu Ling at Words Without Borders: Some say a good story should be like an iceberg.

. . . perhaps a translator is a bit like a Chinese restaurant owner, who finds himself serving mostly a non-Chinese clientele: should I assume my diners have unadventurous palates and always serve them the familiar “chow mein” and “kung-pao chicken”? Or should I assume that everybody is a potential epicurean and serve up complex flavors from regions and with ingredients that they would not have heard of? How do I transmit to my diners, in the famed dish of “Westlake Carp Braised in Vinegar,” the flute on the causeway and lingering scent of the lotus flowers just above the water?

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