Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eliot Weinberger's "Notes on Translation"

Issue 74 of Translation Review contains an article by Kent Johnson in which he gives Eliot Weinberger's "Notes on Translation" and provides his responses to and comments on them. The notes by Weinberger (like Johnson's responses) are provocative, insightful, and, according to my unsuccessful Google searches, unavailable online. Here are the first five:
1. Poetry is that which is worth translating. The poem dies when it has no place to go.
2. The object of a translation into English is not a poem in English.
3. A translation creates a specific kind of distance: the reader never forgets that what is being read is a translation.
4. A translation that sounds like a poem in English is usually a bad translation.
5. A translation that strives for the accuracy of a bilingual dictionary is usually a bad translation.

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