Here’s a round-up of articles for the weekend.
This blog post calls translation “both the most parasitic form of writing and the purest.” It goes on to say “It’s writing without storytelling, without plot, or character, or any of the other gifts that only a few lucky fictioneers have it in them to deploy. No, translation is writing at its most elemental linguistic level, with the kit provided and only the words missing. It belongs alongside singing or acting or symphony conducting — an interpretive art, but no less an art for all that. Translation is what painting by numbers would be, if only the painter had as many colors handy as there are words in the Oxford English Dictionary.” The writer of the post also admits, “My translation work so far hews toward the irreverent, making free with a lot of colloquialism, anachronism, and general puckishness. My Spanish isn’t the greatest, either, so I probably couldn’t be slavishly faithful to the original if I tried.”
As a native Chicagoan, I enjoyed the Chicagopedia, with words/concepts specific to Chicago.
A post on another blog looks at a translation effect called “flattening”. The writer says, “There’s a kind of translation-effect that you would think would be quite easy to avoid: flattening, or choosing a word much less powerful and vivid than the original.” He adds, “These are not mistakes or mistranslations in the usual sense, since they fall within the general semantic range. You could imagine a situation where you'd want to translate gemir with grieve (you could, maybe, but I can't), or golpear with knock. But why would a translator want to consistently err on the side of weakening the effect? It's like making a photocopy of an original and having the print look obviously fainter.”
An article on new words/phrases from 2007, including bromance, crowdsource, gorno, nose bidet, and vegansexual.
The Brooklyn Rail literary magazine has a new section for translation. You might enjoy the first three works published there and you might want to submit there yourself. I thank translator and poet Rika Lesser for sending me this link.
Donoghue v. Stevenson (almost) rides again
23 hours ago