THIS LITTLE ART: A READING AND TALK BY KATE BRIGGSKate Briggs is a writer and translator based inRotterdam. She is the translator of two volumes of lecture and seminar notes byRoland Barthes (Columbia University Press, 2011 and 2013). Kateused to teach art in the Rotterdam School.
Then, she also worked in AUP, teachingLiterature translation and creative writing. When she first moved to Paris, shewas working as language assistant. “Sometimes when I did not how to pronounce acertain word correctly, I was referring to PronounceItRight.com”, – she said in her speech. She wastrying to pronounce some being alone at home. But then, she realized that itreally does not matter that much, “I can just do what I want.
Clearly itmatters how we say people’s names, which do not translate”. She thinks that theway we say each other names out loud – determines the position of ourselves andit 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 paragraphsfrom her book, “The little art”, we may find a question: “what have you found in thepractice of translation?” As Kate puts it in this conversation, “Of all the things that you mightdo in a life, why do this?” Why would translation be the form that someone’swriting would wish to take, and what possibilities, what unique and privatepleasures, can this desire lead to? In her mind this is “translation of experimentation”,French into English translation is a form of writing under constraint.Translation as an idea, creative practice. The book has also her own subjectiveexperience.
For example, she translates “Jardin du Luxembourg” to “Luxembourggardens”. She was anxious about how people would respond to her translation. Thebook, as she says has more her “written voice”, not her voice. In ThisLittle Art, Kate Briggs looks at the “everyday, peculiar thing”, that istranslation, testing it out.