AUDIO: Bela Shayevich in Conversation with Scott Esposito on Svetlana Alexievich

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We were very proud to host acclaimed Russian translator Bela Shayevich discussing her translation of Second-Hand Time by 2015 Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich for our first Two Voices Salon of fall 2016. In this wide-ranging conversation, Shayevich delved into the challenges of translating from 70 years of different kinds of speech all across the immense geography of Russia, as well as discussing the necessity of footnotes to this project, critiques of Alexievich for fudging her facts, and what it was like to wake up and suddenly find out the author you were translating had just won a Nobel Prize.

Full audio of this event is below for your listening pleasure.


0:00 Introductions

2:00 What it was like the morning Alexievich won the Nobel Prize

6:08 Why translate Alexievich?, and the editing process for the book

7:39 What Second-Hand Time is about

13:03 The critique that Alexievich fudges her details

19:39 Translation challenges in Second-Hand Time and what’s up with the Russians and salami?

26:50 The footnotes in Second-Hand Time

30:50 The question of freedom in Alexievich’s work

35:40 Activism in Russia and the final monologue in Second-Hand Time

40:50 Audience Q & A

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