At Granta, literary translators Mara Faye Lethem and Julia Sanches trade correspondence about the personalities of different languages, what it was like for Sanches when Boulder by Eva Baltasar was nominated for the International Booker Prize earlier this year, and what it’s like to “seep into others’ texts” as a translator.

I wonder if some of our physical responses to a particular word or scene are conveyed in our translations. If there’s a way to tell what the translator knows viscerally, or if it’s simply part of the job to create the illusion of that close, intimate knowledge and experience, just as it is (I assume) with poets and novelists. You’re a novelist too – tell me, are we doing very similar things in different ways (e.g. mapped and unmapped)?

I think we all inhabit various worlds at once, I think being a translator helps me to navigate those worlds, when they are separated by language. I was recently looking at some writing I did in college and the professor’s red marks removed all of the Brooklyn from my grammar. It took me a long time to trust my decision-making as a translator, to accept how I seep into others’ texts, but in the end I suppose that’s what makes a translation come alive, and eventually come into its own as a new book.