Stu J Allen: 'I've heard of Nigel Kennedy but who the hell is William Weaver'
When you say the Four Seasons to most people, they'll mention more than likely it is by Vivaldi and more than likely Nigel Kennedy's 1989 recording of it. Kennedy brought a piece from the Italian composer to a new audience by take Vivaldi's manuscript and playing it or maybe you could say translating it into music. That same year the book Foucault's Pendulum from the Italian writer Umberto Eco first appeared in English.
Ask the same people about Foucault's Pendulum they may mention Umberto Eco but I doubt anyone would mention William Weaver. He has taken this writer's manuscript (and those of Italo Calvino too) and performed them in English using his talent to translate humour, metaphor, grammar and sayings from Italian to English.
The main reason I started #translationthurs as a Twitter hashtag was to highlight works in translation but also get people to talk about the translators.
If anything the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize highlights the work of people like William Weaver and the countless others who do the same work as him. So let's all remember the translator so in years to come we can talk about Weaver's body of translation in the same way we do Nigel Kennedy's.