I find this quote interesting:
Poetry, indeed, cannot be translated; and, therefore, it is the poets that preserve the languages; for we would not be at the trouble to learn a language if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation. But as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language except that in which it was originally written, we learn the language. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer
I think Samuel Johnson was a bit off here. Who in the world could realistically learn all the languages she or he wants to, all in order to read poetry in its original tongue? It sounds like an idealistic viewpoint and this is simply not possible.
Poetry can be translated and is translated. There's no way around the fact that if we want to read foreign texts (and we do and we should), we must have translation. Nevertheless, it is also obviously a good thing to learn other languages.
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