March 11, 2021 1:40:07 pm
After author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld withdrew as the Dutch translator for Amanda Gorman’s poem, Catalan translator Victor Obiols has been removed from a similar role. A report in The Guardian confirms and states that the reason behind Obiols’ removal is his “wrong profile”.
“They told me that I am not suitable to translate it. They did not question my abilities, but they were looking for a different profile, which had to be a woman, young, activist and preferably black,” the Catalan translator Victor Obiols told AFP, as quoted by the publication.
Prior to this, Booker Prize winner Lucas Rijneveld had exited as the Dutch translator amid criticism. A report in The Guardian quoted a piece by journalist and activist Janice Deul Janice Deul in the Dutch daily Volkskrant which read, “An incomprehensible choice, in my view and that of many others who expressed their pain, frustration, anger and disappointment via social media…Isn’t it – to say the least – a missed opportunity to [have hired] Marieke Lucas Rijneveld for this job? They are white, nonbinary, have no experience in this field, but according to Meulenhoff are still the ‘dream translator’?”
Withdrawing from the appointed role, they said later, “I am shocked by the uproar surrounding my involvement in the spread of Amanda Gorman’s message and I understand the people who feel hurt by Meulenhoff’s choice to ask me. I had happily devoted myself to translating Amanda’s work, seeing it as the greatest task to keep her strength, tone and style. However, I realise that I am in a position to think and feel that way, where many are not. I still wish that her ideas reach as many readers as possible and open hearts.”
Gorman, the 22-year-old poet assumed an important role in the literary landscape post her performance at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inauguration. Later she featured on the Times cover and is being represented by the agency IMG Models.
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