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Episode 32: Book Translator Michelle Deeter

Take it from a Book Translator—Reading Books In Translation Will Make Your Life More Awesome!

Today’s guest is Chinese to English translator Michelle Deeter.

Michelle Deeter is a Chinese to English translator and interpreter. She got started translating short stories in 2013, and translated her first book in 2015. Since then, she has translated a second fiction book, two non-fiction books, and a whole bunch of boring documents that help pay the bills. Her greatest achievement was the co-translation of Paper Tiger with Nicky Harman. She lives in Manchester in a one-hundred-year-old house.

We stayed up really late and Michelle woke up really early so we could have a trans-Atlantic Zoom call. It was delightful, and we learned a lot about the life of a book translator, how the graciousness of other publishing pros makes life so much better, and the Chinese to English book tropes that Michelle NEVER wants to see again (tHe ChInEsE gOvErNmEnT dOeS nOT waNT u 2 c tHis!!!!).

If you don’t walk away from this podcast wanting to read a book from another country, we will be very surprised, and probably a little suspicious.

Links of Interest

The project Michelle considers her greatest achievement: Paper Tiger by Xu Zhiyuan — winner of the English Pen Award (which is a pretty big deal).

Amazon Crossing is an Amazon imprint that promotes the translation of global literature. If Amazon is the multi-snaked head we have dubbed it, the one particular head that has been very nice to Michelle.

The Three-Body Problem, one of the more famous Chinese books in translation. 

Jay Rubin (Murakami’s translator) on the lovely podcast 88 Cups of Tea. We recommend!

Beijing Beijing by Feng Tang, an early translation project of Michelle’s.

Info on the extremely dedicated book translator, Helen Wang, who not only does translating work, but also works hard to advocate for foreign books.

You can find out more about Michelle and her work on her website.

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