Max Lane on How Not to Get Lost in Translating Pramoedya Ananta Toer

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About Pramoedya Ananta Toer,
Written by Diella Yasmine, and was originally published in The Jakarta Globe,
May 18, 2018


For a long time, before the mini-boom in Indonesian literature in translation started by the buzz over Eka Kurniawan’s “Beauty Is a Wound,” the only Indonesian novels in English translation you would see on the shelf when you go into a bookstore overseas were more than likely to be Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s “Buru Quartet” novels – “This Earth of Mankind,” “Child of All Nations,” “Footsteps” and “House of Glass.” All four books were translated by one man, Indonesianist, political activist and former renegade Australian diplomat Max Lane.

Lane is not the only man to have translated Pram’s – the Indonesian nickname for the Nobel Prize in Literature-nominated author – books, there was also the Australian academic translator Harry Aveling (“The Fugitive,” “The Girl From the Coast”) and the American – reportedly a pseudonym – Willem Samuels (“All That Is Gone,” “The Mute’s Soliloquy”), but Lane’s translations, first published by Penguin Australia and then picked up by Penguin Books worldwide, are the most well-known and have never been out of print since it was first released in 1983.

Read the full article here.