Selection of translated titles:
- Rainer Maria Rilke: Selected Poems. Oxford University Press, 2011
- Rainer Maria Rilke: The Book of Hours (Das Stunden-Buch). Camden House/Boydell & Brewer, 2008
Three questions to Susan Ranson:
Why did you choose to become a translator?
Kind encouragement at school first fired the life-long ambition; translation in earnest began only on discovering that I might achieve a translation (of the Book of Hours) more fitting than those I had read.
Which German book do you like best and why?
It is Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, which epitomizes lyricism, running sound into image into rhythm so indivisibly and in such bright light that it seems to turn on its own axis, so to speak, like a separate sphere of existence. To my mind it stands alongside Shakespeare’s sonnets: what more need be said?
Is there a particular book you would like to translate?
The same Sonnets. But the opportunity has already fallen my way: in the Selected Poems of Rilke, above, it was not only given to me to translate the Duino Elegies, the Sonnets’ equal in stature, but to work alongside Marielle Sutherland on the Sonnets, translating a few of them with the sense of indescribable privilege. Awestruck, I suppose, I had skirted round them for too long; Marielle revealed them to me.