William Weaver, American translator of Italian literature (1923-2013)
Thread poster: Aisha Maniar

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:37
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
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Nov 19, 2013

The famous American translator of modern Italian literature William Weaver has died. Unusually, here is an obituary for a translator in the mainstream media http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/18/william-weaver
It also contains interesting notes on how he worked - alone and with the writers he translated - and the process of becoming a renowned literary translator. Maybe some inspiration for budding literary translators and I'm sure many of us - English speakers - have read his translations of Italian literature too. RIP.
Aisha


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Dear Bill Nov 19, 2013

Aisha Maniar wrote:

The famous American translator of modern Italian literature William Weaver has died. Unusually, here is an obituary for a translator in the mainstream media http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/18/william-weaver
It also contains interesting notes on how he worked - alone and with the writers he translated - and the process of becoming a renowned literary translator. Maybe some inspiration for budding literary translators and I'm sure many of us - English speakers - have read his translations of Italian literature too. RIP.
Aisha


I knew Bill Weaver and saw him (and many others) often at long, well-lubricated Sunday lunches at the ancient "casa da signori" in the hinterland of Florence, owned by some publisher friends I knew. He was an urbane and enjoyable man from whom I learned a lot about translation. His accounts of working with Italo Calvino on translating Calvino's books into English were illuminating. He also worked with Umberto Eco and others. One key thing he taught me, when I was a beginner: "don't worry about the first version of a translation; it's always a complete mess".

RIP for a very important translator. The fame of Calvino and Eco (and so much other Italian literature) in English is largely thanks to Bill's translations.

[Edited at 2013-11-19 12:44 GMT]


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
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Thank you... Nov 19, 2013

for sharing that, Tom, and the tip he gave you. I agree that his translations are in large part responsible for the fame of many Italian novelists and writers in English, as well as, I would posit, respect for translated literature in general, which is not as well received by English-speaking readers as it is by others. He certainly was and remains important to translation and literature.

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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
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A loss Nov 19, 2013

I enjoyed his translations of Eco's books very much - never once did I sense that I was reading a translation rather than an original work.
I'm sure it was possible to learn a great deal about the art and profession from him.


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William Weaver, American translator of Italian literature (1923-2013)

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