Monday, August 13, 2007

A Round-Up of Articles

A couple of months ago, I posted a round-up of articles because I kept seeing so many interesting ones on translation. Well, here’s another one, mostly focusing on translating poetry. It’s exciting that translation is appearing more and more!

Here is an entire issue of an
online magazine devoted to translation. I like the quote in the piece by Linh Dinh that says “The best way to criticize an imperfect translator is to do a better translation.” I wonder how many translations have been done for that reason. There is also a nice metaphor for the work a translator does: “I’m not a translator so much as a tightrope walker between two unreliable

An article on translating poet César Vallejo is here. Poet Clayton Eshleman writes, among other things, about how translating Vallejo has influenced his own work.

one on translating poet Zbigniew Herbert is here. This essay contains the line “Hofmann can’t read Polish (neither can I), but he makes a vigorous, smart and hugely entertaining case by comparing the older and newer translations.” I find this to be odd; if one compares two or more different translations of the same work without also analyzing the source text, then one is comparing how the texts work in the target languages, not how the target texts are as translations. In my opinion, this is not how one should critique a translation.

Finally, for those who can read Swedish, here is
an article by the Danish poet Pia Tafdrup, about being translated. She writes that she doesn’t consider herself a Danish poet, but rather a poet who happens to write in Danish, since she was born and raised in Denmark. Since poetry is a way of understanding, a way of reaching other people, translation is an important part of it. She says that like Doctors Without Borders, there should be Poets and Translators Without Borders, too.

Enjoy the reading!

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