Re: Do we still need literary translators?
My respect for translator's and translation only increases. Reading translations early on, they were invisible people but I respected the accomplishment, now it's teasing or often important and maddeningly pedantic even to consider, 'which translation' and the problems of the translator's art, "faithful or accurate" or "to the letter or the spirit". The latest translation of Don Quixote I've been reading (and meaning to finish the last 200 pages of for weeks and weeks.... ) opened up my appreciation as I saw the use of Brit slang, Shakespeare, turns of phrase that are clearly not Spanish, and with Sancho's thousands of proverbs the effort and skill was there, and so should the praise be: it's incredible how many approximations the translator is using to get it across to a Brit or American reader.... esp. the humour.
I had this discussion once with a writer pal from NYC who was an assistant to a famous Proust Scholar, and it nearly bolied over when discussing which translation, bolied over meaning being told what to read; since then I'm aware of differences of approach, rather than 'best' translation, but it's odd when someone getS so passionate and certain about the 'right translation'.
Last edited by Hamlet; 11-May-2012 at 22:21.
"Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard"
Myth of Sysyphus ~ by Albert Camus