Kate Briggs is a writer and translator based in
Rotterdam. She is the translator of two volumes of lecture and seminar notes by
Roland Barthes (Columbia University Press, 2011 and 2013). Kate
used to teach art in the Rotterdam School. Then, she also worked in AUP, teaching
Literature translation and creative writing. When she first moved to Paris, she
was working as language assistant. “Sometimes when I did not how to pronounce a
certain word correctly, I was referring to”, – she said in her speech. She was
trying to pronounce some being alone at home. But then, she realized that it
really does not matter that much, “I can just do what I want. Clearly it
matters how we say people’s names, which do not translate”. She thinks that the
way we say each other names out loud – determines the position of ourselves and
it is also a way to feel closeness to people, whose language is different.

However, she also claims that one always fails to speak of what one loves.

         When reading some paragraphs
from her book, “The little art”, we may find a question: “what have you found in the
practice of translation?” As Kate puts it in this conversation, “Of all the things that you might
do in a life, why do this?” Why would translation be the form that someone’s
writing would wish to take, and what possibilities, what unique and private
pleasures, can this desire lead to? In her mind this is “translation of experimentation”,
French into English translation is a form of writing under constraint.

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Translation as an idea, creative practice. The book has also her own subjective
experience. For example, she translates “Jardin du Luxembourg” to “Luxembourg
gardens”. She was anxious about how people would respond to her translation. The
book, as she says has more her “written voice”, not her voice. In This
Little Art, Kate Briggs looks at the “everyday, peculiar thing”, that is
translation, testing it out.





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