Mark Polizzotti has translated more than fifty books, including works by Patrick Modiano, Gustave Flaubert, Raymond Roussel, Marguerite Duras, and Paul Virilio. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he is also the author of Revolution of the Mind: The Life of Andre Breton and other books.
Lively, readable, and often funny ... a likably idiosyncratic sequence of essays on a topic that is of more importance than ever in our globalized world ... Polizzotti makes one feel that creating and reading translated literature can be a genuinely pleasurable experience.-Emily Wilson, New York Review of Books
With impressive breadth and scrupulous detail, translator Polizzotti offers a manifesto about what translation is, what it should be, and why it is important ... Polizzotti's book is suffused with expertise and displays his decades of experience in incisively capturing the nuances of an esoteric discipline, while also offering a passionate defense of his trade's larger value.-Publishers Weekly
There is no such thing as a perfect translation, claims Polizzotti, adding: "And so much the better." Translation deserves to join other forms of artistic expression on its own terms, but the process should "start in homes and in schools." This book has the potential to inspire such a change.-Anna Aslanyan, Financial Times
In Sympathy for the Traitor, his acute, pugnacious manifesto, Mark Polizzotti takes issue with the adage traduttore traditore: translators aren't traducers or traitors, ghosts or parrots, or helpmeets, but writers in their own write (as John Lennon put it). The longstanding ideal of the good translator's self-effacement behind the towering original fails to take full measure of their vital role in recognising their parity with the author: 'It takes respect for one's own work,' Polizzotti writes, 'belief that one's translation is worth judging on its own merits (or flaws), and that, if done properly, it can stand shoulder to shoulder with the source text.'-London Review of Books
To Polizzotti, a translator deserves notice as an artist, no matter how hidden her art may be. The ability to hide one's voice is an art, and it's one readers should learn to look for. In other words, Polizzotti asks readers not to suspend belief, but to catch ourselves in the act of believing.-Public Books