Hebrew literary translator
Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2017
All these delicate echoes of reality join forces to power this novel, Grossman’s most authoritative since his 1989 tour de force, “See Under: Love.” (It’s further enhanced by Jessica Cohen’s brilliantly colloquial translation.) A desperate book that somehow does not cause despair, a book about death that stubbornly insists on life, “To the End of the Land,” like all great literature, is an act of generosity, opening itself to every human possibility….”
Since Grossman’s language is so supple and so resonant, let me say at once that Jessica Cohen has done a remarkable job in rendering it in English. She beautifully captures the evocativeness with which the Hebrew is used to describe landscapes, feelings, and bodily sensations; the vivid colloquial register that she creates for the extensive dialogues is exactly right; and she demonstrates great resourcefulness in inventing English equivalents for the witty wordplay in the Hebrew….
The complex erotics of their story, and of the love-triangle between Ora, Avram and Ilan, is one of the strongest aspects of the book; as is the deft precision of Grossman’s depiction of the land – beautifully rendered in Jessica Cohen’s translation – that veers, along with the rise and fall of Ora’s moods, from lush to desolate
The New Republic
I was born in 1973, in Colchester, England, where I attended two years of primary school. In 1980, I moved with my family to Jerusalem, Israel. I was placed in a Hebrew-speaking primary school, which forced me to quickly acquire Hebrew as my “second” native language. The remainder of my education was in Hebrew, although I continued to speak and read English at home. Negotiating the transitions between two very different languages and cultures was immensely difficult at times, but I am now grateful for having grown up bilingual. Bilingualism has led me to a career that I love.
In 1997, I moved to the United States with my Israeli-American husband. Since coming to the U.S., a combination of studies, jobs and wanderlust has led us to Seattle, Indiana, back to Seattle, to Long Island, NY, and most recently to Denver, where I now live and work.
Translation is more than just a job: it is part of how I live my life. My identity is composed of multiple cultures in two languages. On any given day, I read newspapers and listen to music from Israel, England and the U.S. I speak both English and Hebrew regularly, and read books written in (or translated into) both languages. I visit Israel every year, to see friends and family, buy new (and old) dictionaries, and catch up with the latest developments in Hebrew, a language still rapidly evolving. Translation is a way to reconcile these parts of my identity and promote effective communication. I enjoy the challenges of translation, and relish the opportunity to learn from whatever I happen to be translating.
I began translating commercial material (from English to Hebrew and Hebrew to English) in 1998. My first book-length translation was published in 2003, and over the years I devoted more and more of my time to literary translation, while still maintaining my commercial translation business. I have worked with some of Israel’s finest writers, including David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Assaf Gavron, Rutu Modan, Amir Gutfreund, Yael Hedaya, Ronit Matalon and Tom Segev, as well as with prominent screenwriters such as Ari Folman and Ron Leshem. My translations have been published in English by leading U.S. publishers. Since 2012, I have focused exclusively on literary and creative translation.
Please contact me to discuss your Hebrew translation project, or with any questions about my work.
Tel: +1 (303) 459-2479 | Fax: +1 (303) 563-2129 | jessica(at)thehebrewtranslator(dot)com