While there are a lot of good intentions out there now and some very valuable work being done, I remain deeply skeptical and suspicious about how translation continues to be done in this country. We get solitary literary works, removed from any context, and often this only helps to buttress and reconstitute the privileged ideas of art and the literary artifact in our own tradition, removing texts from social, political, economic, historical and spiritual contexts. So we get the one or several great novels of a writer or the book of selected poems without the letters, biographies, literary histories, politics, gossip, and everything else that embeds a text in a particular time and place. This allows for a kind of money laundering, in which people deeply discredited in their own countries can come to us, the uninformed, and seek full rehabilitation through translation and adulation by our own mediocre and insular intellects who use these works as opportunities to display their own apparent courage and social consciousness.
- Ammiel Alcalay in an interview on the Loggernaut Reading Series site