Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Advice from T.S. Eliot

According to today’s Writer’s Almanac, it was on this day that poet Denise Levertov was born. Apparently, she wrote a poem when she was 12 that she then sent to T.S. Eliot. He “advised her to read poetry in a foreign language, and to keep on writing.” This is good advice for anyone interested in language or writing: learning foreign languages and reading work in them helps us expand our own understanding of life and our creative abilities. Since no two languages have the exact same vocabulary, which means they don’t have the same worldviews or priorities, we can always learn something from other languages.

So any translator who wants to improve his or her skills should take Mr. Eliot’s advice and read deeply in other languages, and keep on translating.

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