This essay briefly describes the process of working with the author Édouard Glissant in translating his works, with a particular focus on the novel Mahagony. It explores the extent to which a personal relationship with the author provides both special insights and frustration for the translator. It treats the part played by the requirement that a translator “write” the work again after the author’s first writing and how this relates to the expected readers of both the “original” and the translation. A solution is found in how words within a text can function to guide a translator to a satisfying transition of that work from one language to another.

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