Read the opening chapters in French, with a recorded audio reading on Asymptote. Further excerpts can be found on AsymptoteGrantaWords Without Borders and Modern Literature, and Lauren Elkin's foreword on Literary Hub.

‘In this series of delicate memoir essays about living in translation and living as a translator, Gansel tunes herself most sensitively into many states of  language, from dwelling in a mother tongue to opening ways of surviving in exile and estrangement.’ – Marina Warner

 ‘This memoir tells of a life forged by encounters, by the humble desire to reach out to and understand the other. It is a subtle, moving, and at times sad testimony that talks of poetry, the dialogue with consciousness, commitment and values that are essential to literature and to life itself.’ – La Quinzaine littéraire

‘A rare work of literature with translation at its heart. And a translation to match.’ – Anthony Rudolf, author of Silent Conversations and translator of Yves Bonnefoy and Edmond Jabès

From the US:

‘In this memoir of a translator’s adventures, Mireille Gansel shows us what it means to enter another language through its culture, and to enter the life of another culture through its language. A sensitive and insightful book, which illuminates the difficult, and often underestimated task of translation—and the role of literature in making for a more interconnected and humane world.’ – Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language

‘Imagine watching the entire flock of migrating monarchs; hundreds of thousands of orange and black pixels creating a mountain in the negative space of their movement. Through tireless effort, sensitivity to history and nuance, deep research into the original artist and landscape, and, finally, “the conviction that no word that speaks of what is human is untranslatable,” the translator shows us trees where there are no trees, and leads us over the contours of terrain we will never climb.’ – Josh Cook, Los Angeles Review of Books

‘Rich and moving... In Gansel’s memoir, words, too, migrate. Languages cross borders and settle for the season, then circumnavigate back to their original territories in altered forms, bearing witness to their travels. Translation uncovers etymologies of similarity and difference. But a language involves not just layers of meaning, but also layers of time in the lives of all who have spoken it… To read Translation as Transhumance is to transhume with Gansel as she cultivates a multidimensional understanding of language; it is likewise to excavate words, an archeology of the strata of interpretation that extend from the merest surface inscription.’ – Emily LaBarge, Los Angeles Review of Books

‘(Gansel) recognizes the fact that poetry is the lifeblood of a language and a culture; it saves language from the meaningless currency of everyday exchange—the language that Nazi bureaucracy thrived on—and transforms it into words that breathe, that live their own life, that create an entirely different reality from the roots of words and transforms them into “glowing stones.”’ – Charlotte Mandell, translator of Maurice Blanchot and Mathias Énard

Review of Translation as Transhumance, by Sandra Smith, In Other Words, August 2018

‘ The Politics of Translation ’, Marina Warner,  London Review of Books.  11 October 2018

The Politics of Translation’, Marina Warner, London Review of Books. 11 October 2018


Books of the Year, The White Review, December 2018
The Politics of Translation’, Marina Warner, London Review of Books. 11 October 2018
Review of Translation as Transhumance, Sandra Smith, In Other Words, August 2018
Between The Lines, Sophie Herxheimer, Cécile Menon and Ros Schwartz in conversation with Bidisha at Jewish Book Week 2018
'More than a book with chapters, this is a series of reflections...' Professor Tim Connel, The Linguist, February 2018
'For Gansel, language is tied to the land, and translation is impossible without a complete immersion into the culture that produced the text', Eliza Ariadni Kalfa, Totally Dublin, January 2018
#RivetingReviews: Aneesa Abbas Higgins reviews Translation as Transhumance by Mireill Gansel, Aneesa Abbas Higgins, Eurolit Network, 13 December 2017
'If ethnology and poetry don’t speak to you, this will be lost in translation, but it‘s worth it just to learn about Nelly Sachs and her poetry...' Buzz, 25 November 2017
Making ourselves herd, Amanda Hopkinson, Jewish Chronicle, 24 November 2017
'Fascinating insights into literary production... Intriguing and, I think, important', Scott Manley-Hadley, Triumph of the Now, 16 November 2017
Books of the year 2018, Times Literary Supplement, 14 November 2017
'...a remarkable and illuminating memoir by French translator Mireille Gansel, faithfully rendered in English by Ros Schwartz'. Annie Rutherford, The Skinny, 2 November 2017
'I feel this is a must-read for any fan of translation and translators and maybe the start of a new trend in translator memoirs?' Stu Allen, Winstonsdad, 28 October 2017
'An urgent, human work, blending together lived experience with insights so precise that they would make booklovers of all stripes gasp,' Ann Morgan, A Year of Reading the World, 24 October 2017
'A book which I loved … I love it because it appeals to the Romantic idea of the translator, the single figure swimming down into other worlds and coming back with her hands full of pearls', James Womack, 22 September 2017

From the US:

'...a moving tribute to the art of translation as a kind of humanism...' Charlotte Mandell, World Literature Today, January 2018
Words That Speak of What is Human, Josh Cook, Los Angeles Review of Books, 31 December 2017