Conversation TIP / Ledia Agolli or the translator of the book we have all read
When I started asking these questions, Ledia answered me from her kitchen where she was cooking for a friends lunch. Somewhere around 6 people. Yes, I cook a lot and I like to host friends for lunch or dinner.
It was a seafood lunch. Meanwhile my biss was not much sea nor blue. I wanted to get a condition like a screenshot, from the translator of Khaleid Hossein, into Albanian. Ironically, Hossein spoke to CNN and we translated it on tiranapost.al, but still this is a conversation that has its value.
August 25, 2021
Mira Kazhani: Afghanistan reminded us of Khaleid Hossein's books, in the writer's impossibility I thought we could talk to the translator. Because the translator is the closest person to an author or not?
Ledia Agolli: I wish you are (laughs) and what best proves this is the reader. How dear that work has become to our readers here.
Mira Kazhani: What would you say to someone who has not read Khaleid Hossein's "Balloon Hunter"?
Ledia Agolli: I would tell her to read it an hour ago, especially in the days we are living in when Afghanistan is back in the headlines. "Balloon Hunter" is a book they will read with one breath, it has inspired millions of readers and it will stay with you for a long time because it grabs and breaks your heart and reminds us now more than ever and complicated has been and is the path of the history of this people to the violence and regressive forces that unfortunately threaten it even today.
I would also say read "A Thousand Shining Suns", now that the Taliban have arrived ...
Mira Kazhani: How did you feel when you translated it?
Ledia Agolli: Ah how I cried ... even when I had read it just for myself, even when I was working to translate it ... it was a fortune that I had the good fortune to bring in Albanian a work that I had felt so much. I lived in the US in the years when it was published and recommended to me by the bookseller, convinced that I would like it as much as everyone liked it, while the US woke up every day to the news that opened with the names of young soldiers killed in Afghanistan distant. Khaled Hoosein's work served then I believe and today, as an entry point, as a window to better understand that distant world, the history, culture and customs of that country. And Hosseini knows how to do this so well, simply and beautifully ...
Mira Kazhani: The translator seems to me like a shadow writer, he becomes the second skin of the author, an extension of his literature, messages and especially the right word, what relations do you have with the authors he translates?
Ledia Agolli: I would very much like to deserve every word, point and comma of your question Mira (laughs) .., and to tell the truth, I like to think so too. Therefore, the books that I have chosen and had the opportunity to translate are works that I loved, they have left traces, sensibilities and emotions that I have tried to convey in Albanian. "Balloon Hunter" was my first translation and some kind of coincidence brought it to me. Let’s just say this job didn’t leave for me, but luck brought it to me probably because I had experienced and loved it so much. But, this is another story. (laughs). I am usually attracted to works and not the author in the books I have translated, except in the case of my last translation, when the author was more intriguing than the book itself, also because the book was not conceived at the moment when we decided together with Arlinda Dudaj that the translation will I took.
Mira Kazhani: Do you think that Michele Obama wrote the whole book herself? In the sense that all Ghost Writers generally have ghost writers but this is a bad translation, good would be shadow writers. Or not?
Ledia Agolli: I know that there is a lot of talk about these types of "ghosts" (laughs), but in the case of Obama I believe that she wrote it herself, because as such she had and succeeds of this magnitude. Of course behind it is a long list of editors, proofreaders, etc. who latte and perfect every word and I believe and the long list of people she thanks herself in the book testifies to that.
Mira Kazhani: Have you met any of the authors?
Ledia Agolli: Ah how much I would like to tell you that I have met Hossein, Obama, Ondatje, Jumpa Lahiri, Nick Hornby because they are all prominent writers, with prestigious literary awards, world famous, with books that movies like "The English Patient" or "Balloon Hunter" have been made ... Maybe one day, someday .. I will meet one of them ... sometimes the world is too small ..
Mira Kazhani: Who would you like and what questions would some of them cause?
Ledia Agolli: Today ... just like almost 20 years ago I would like to meet Hossein ... for understandable reasons in the present we are experiencing and also simply for the pleasure of meeting a writer who was not born from the beginning of time such ... and of course Obama ... the woman of the year in 2019, the best-selling autobiography in 2019 and the book of 2019, ..a so inspiring journey ...
Mira Kazhani: Do you translate for passion? Are you in a field that has little to do with literature? Will you show your first work?
Ledia Agolli: Yes .. I believe that yes, for the pleasure that this process gives me, both creative and intimate, solitary, but also fulfilling.
My first job was in 1992, when I was a student, accompanying and translating for a group of Dutch journalists.
Mira Kazhani: Seeing you in a house with lots of roses and lilacs in the spring makes you look more translator. Where do you translate? How many hours?
Ledia Agolli: Ah yes ... jasmine and hydrangea too (laughs) .. with so many flowers Mira, who knows how many novels I should have written ... how much I like these descriptions of yours. (laughs) .. in fact yes "A thousand twinkling suns" I translated it completely there, by the sea. Normally, since translation is not my only or first job, I have to sacrifice evenings, late hours, when everyone is hanging out for movies, or having fun outside, or are asleep. They are the most creative hours, two or three hours a day, every day, because the translation process needs its own rhythm.
Special was the "Balloon Hunter" for which I worked intensively, 5-6 hours a day and has been in print for three months.
Mira Kazhani: Beautiful yes, but just as big as Albanian, to offer all the treasure of words in front of English, a language that has so many synonyms for a word?
Ledia Agolli: Albanian for me is the most beautiful and could not be different. The big question, too, is how well we know and use it, the words are hidden or dormant there, they need to be discovered and brought back to the right place and musicality.
Mira Kazhani: To translate, the key is to understand, to feel, to get under the skin of the author and the work ... sentences and words then sprout by themselves.
Where do you look for the right words? What dictionary are you referring to?
Ledia Agolli: Më shumë se çdo gjë mundohem të përdor fjalorin sinonimik, por kur përkthej i referohem librit dhe në një gjuhë tjetër, variantin italisht në rastin tim, jo vetëm për krahasim por dhe italishtja është me e ngjashme me shqipen me menyrën e ndërtimit të fjalive.
Mira Kazhani: Si po i kalon këto ditë vere? Lexon?
Ledia Agolli: Sa çudi që jemi në ditët e fundit të verës, iku dhe një verë tjetër me diell, det, miq, udhetime të vogla dhe sigurisht libra... po kohët e fundit kam blerë më shumë libra se ç'kam lexuar..
Mira Kazhani: Jeni aktive në Instagram, të paktën nuk e keni të ngrirë apo të ngadalshëm. Çfarë të pëlqen më shumë nga ai përveç filtrave ( qesh)?
Ledia Agolli: Haha.. kemi nevojë dhe për ca filtra në jetë (qesh)!
Instagrami është porta që më lidh me shumë gjëra përfshi lajmet, brenda e jashtë, interesa të shumëllojshme nga kultura, historia, kinemaja, bota e artit, modës, fotografia, dizajni dhe arkitektura, destinacione apo profile që thjesht më kënaqin apo frymëzojnë..si dhe më mbajnë të lidhur me shumë njerëz që mund t'i kemi afër ose larg ...dhe siç mund ta vërtetosh lehtë është gjithnjë dhe Tirana Post që shfaqet në krye të rradhës, të cilën e ndjek me shumë kënaqësi.
Mira Kazhani: Faleminderit për besimin!
A po shkon bota e fletëve të librit drejt kapitullimit me median sociale dhe me faqet online?
Ledia Agolli: I do not know if I am the one who could give you a correct answer, but in my opinion yes, because social media is hijacked without realizing much time. As with everything else, in times of technology and so many small or large distractions, reading must be planned.
Mira Kazhani: Thank you