by Deborah Smith

A timely and impassioned essay on translation, fidelity and the knotted cultural politics of world literature.

Drawing on her experience of translating Han Kang’s Man Booker International Prize-winning The Vegetarian, and the anxieties around imperialism and authorship that its reception provoked, Deborah Smith weaves together an array of stories and approaches to translation as she seeks to unlock its artistic and radical potential. We meet the Tamil translators who take an “argumentative” approach to Indian classics, bilingual authors who translate themselves, and the self-described translation activists whose deliberate infidelity seeks to undermine the privileging of English-language fluency.

What emerges is a portrait of translation not as a technical activity, but as urgent, engaged and truly creative – a practice whose methods are as varied as those of any art form.

Fidelity is at once combative, passionate, witty and wise – proof, if proof was needed, that great translators make great writers.

Est. release: 2019


About the Author

Deborah Smith is a British translator of Korean fiction. She translated The Vegetarian by Han Kang, for which she and the author were awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2016. Smith is also founder of Tilted Axis Press, a non-profit publishing house focusing on contemporary fiction from Asia.