Translation: Practice and Theory
Note: I have not included excerpts here from every play I
have translated, and two out of the plays represented
have not yet been produced. The reason for this is that
I wished to present the greatest possible variety of styles I have
worked with in translating from three quite
different languages: German, French, and Italian.
Excerpt from The Investigation by Peter Weiss
Excerpt from the French Cameroonian Play
Enough Is Enough by Protais Asseng
Excerpt from Carlo Goldoni's
The War (La Guerra)
Excerpt from Friedrich Dürrenmatt's
Hercules and the Augean Stables
Excerpt from a French Boulevard Farce
Husbands À La Carte (Croque-Monsieur)
by Marcel Mithois
How to Contact Alex Gross about Translating a Play
Two "Untranslatable" Poems
By Christian Morgenstern
(from the German)
(republished several times in various venues)
A Selection of French Symbolist Poems
Commissioned for the program
Of a Song Recital at Lincoln Center
Writings about Translation:
Some Images and Analogies for the Process of Translation. A piece attempting to explain what translators do in terms of well-known devices and processes. Published in Volume V of the ATA Scholarly Series, 1991.
Translation as the Prototype of all Communication. (Teaching Translation as a Form of Writing: Improving Translator Self-Concept) A Gedankenexperiment proving that there is no significant difference between translating from one language to another and paraphrasing in a single language.
The Language Contest. A parable on all the languages of the world and which one is truly "best." Published by Language Monthly.
The Challenge of Translating Chinese Medicine. This interview with the author reveals much about both the Chinese language and Chinese medicine and shows how problems in translating this difficult subject have slowed down wider public understanding of its principles. Published by Language Monthly.
Synthesizing the Three Major Passions of my Life: Linguistics, Theatre, Translation. Preface to a recently commissioned play translation.
Academics and Translators: Who Pecks Whom? This introduction to an international panel at the 1989 ATA Conference maintains that translators are the true artists of the foreign language field, comparable to painters. composers, dancers, and writers in the other art forms.
The following two book reviews deal partly or entirely with machine translation and can be assigned to either the "Linguistics" or "Translation" category.
Two German Books About Machine Translation, 1999. Have there truly been any new advances in MT? Or is the field merely marking time as a scholarly buzzword whose time has passed?
New Terminologies: Peaceful Immigrants or Invading Hordes? A Review of Three New Books, 2004. Contrasting Spanish and Chinese books on Internet terminology with a remarkable work by a young doctor about how Chinese truly handles language and creates its own terminology.
Some Major Dates and Events in the History of Translation. The author's 2004 invited keynote address at the third conference honoring Saint Jerome at the Universidad de Veracuz in Xalapa, Mexico.
The History of Translation History. ATA Chronicle, September, 1996.
15361546: Ten Years that Changed the Perception of the Translator. ATA Chronicle, December, 1995.
Outline for the NYU Seminar "A Practical View of Translation History." Presented during the Nineties by the author as part of the NYU Translation History Program.
Translators and Interpreters: The Binding Force of World Civilization. Summary & Map of Displays from a Proposal for a Museum Exhibit on this Theme.
HermesGod of Translators and Interpreters: The Origins of Language and the Prehistory of Interpreting. A historical inquiry into the earliest days of interpreting, demonstrating how they provide a window onto both the "prehistory" of translation and the origins of language. Paper just presented on March 24 at the Translation2000 Conference, sponsored by the NYU Translation Studies Program.
Hermes, God of Translators and Interpreters: The Antiquity of InterpretingDistinguishing Fact from Speculation. A "cleaned up" & more conventionally academic version of the previous Hermes essay, prepared for an NYU book project.
"FIST"First International Strike of Translators. A partly tongue-in-cheek piece about the possibility of translators forming a union. Published by Translation News in 1990.
"And What about the ATA?" Some insights about the American Translators Association, based on two years spent by the author trying to help them with their Public Relations program. From the ATA Chronicle, 1995.
How Well Does Computer Translation Work? Find Out for Yourself. Thanks to Altavista's "BabelFish" program, from this page you can run your own test of "machine translation" and decide for yourself on its quality.
NOTE: Several other articles and papers about "machine translation" can be accessed from the Linguistics Menu.