Rebecca Catching

Translating

Like writing, translating is something I gradually fell into. I am sure it is very much the case for most translators . . . unless you come from a “long line of translators”—which I can say with great certainty that I did not. But in all honestly translating one of my greatest pleasures. I feel that translating is a kind of “pure” wordcraft. You have the joys of taking someone’s ideas and finding a way to make them accessible to a local audience—sussing out the tone, the inferences, the humor or, in some cases, the lack of humor. I take my cue from artists Monika Lin, who once told me how she used to try to minimize her teaching practice, but then realized what a profound impression it made on her core practice. Translating is not only a “guilty pleasure” it is also a vital way for me to deeply understand the discourse of contemporary art in China, for as any translator knows:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

—Harper Lee.

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