A Translator’s Diary: A Year in the Life of Emma Ramadan

Emma Ramadan at The Quarterly Conversation:

When a sentence isn’t right, I feel it immediately in my back. I’ve said this before. Sometimes I can’t type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts and a specific word disappears from my train of thought forever. Sometimes my body has enough energy to take me to a translation workshop at a friend’s home and my translation is changed for it. Sometimes my body is tired from my day job and I work half as quickly as I used to. Sometimes my body catches cold and my brain muddles words on the page. Once I had a translation deadline to meet but I had just had my tonsils removed and could barely make out the page through the muck of medication. I realized shortly after that I had wound up with something that was half truth and half lie.

At Riffraff, we host an event to discuss my translation of Virginie Despentes’s Pretty Things. I am in conversation with a local trans woman and activist, who quite fairly makes the point that while Despentes’s book has been lauded as a feminist critique of the ways in which the beauty industry corrodes our confidence and distorts our sense of self-worth, what is left out of this book and its surrounding discussion is that this lens of feminism is not universal.

more here.