By translating a text we open a new world to others

By translating a text we open a new world to others

Marta Klonowska joined translators from Cataluyna, Germany, India and Romania in January 2014 for a Schwob residency organised by Wales Literature Exchange focused on translating modern literary classics.

Literary translation is for me one of the best ways of understanding literature at the deepest level and a great opportunity to delve into a language and the culture it represents. Why am I drawn to translating Welsh literature? Mainly because of my long-lasting fascination with the Welsh language, in all its richness and variety. Exploring the world of Welsh literature is an extraordinary experience, not unlike discovering hidden treasures and opening oneself to another world, so close, yet unknown. It is an experience that I would like to share with other people in my country, where Welsh literature still remains unrecognised.

To quote Ryszard Kapuściński: ”by translating a text we open a new world to others, we interpret and explain it, and by explaining, we make it accessible, closer and a part of our personal experience”. I believe that at the present time, with both Poland and Wales being members of the European community and the growing number of Poles living in Wales, it is crucial to seek better understanding between the two nations. With all the current developments, it seems that the awareness of the diversity of culture in Great Britain is increasing among the Poles who are more and more eager to learn about the cultures beyond the English-language mainstream. Wales, with its unique literary tradition, should not be forgotten in this respect, and it would be a privilege for me  to have a share in making people in Poland more familiar with one of the overlooked, yet important elements of our common European heritage.

In the photograph: Marta Klonowska with Sally Baker and Menna Baines visiting the house in which Caradog Prichard lived, Bethesda. 

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