Monday, December 22, 2008

More Metaphors for Translation/Translators

In the last post, I mentioned Susan Bassnett’s Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction. She includes some analysis of translation metaphors, which is a topic I am interested in. She writes that studying metaphors translators use about their work is an important part of translation studies today. Here are some of the ones Professor Bassnett mentions:

  • “[C]lusters of metaphors used by translators reflect their thinking about the role and status of translation in their own time. Predictable metaphors relating to rhetoric in general include following in footsteps, changing clothing, discovering treasure or alchemical transfer, and these metaphors also show a certain degree of ambiguity towards the source text, with the status of the text in its source system being significant in determining the attitude and strategies of the translator as well as the right of the target culture to possess it.” (146)

  • The translator as a servant was a popular metaphor through 19th century. (147)

  • Augusto de Campos uses the metaphor of the transfusion of blood. “Translation is for him a physical process, it is a devouring of the source text, a transmutation process, an act of vampirization.” (155)

  • “The images of translation as cannibalism, as vampirism, whereby the translator sucks out the blood of the source text to strengthen the target text, as transfusion of blood that endows the receiver with new life, can all be seen as radical metaphors that spring from post-modernist post-colonial translation theory.” (155)
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