Re, tāda jauka eseja
Sharp Biscuit — Some Thoughts on Translating. Notes from a guilty business by MICHAEL HOFMANN.
But that’s the problem: whose words are you going to use, if not your own? Reprising Buffon, Wallace Stevens said: “A man has no choice about his style.” Why shouldn’t it be just as true of a translator as of John Doe, author? Is it imagined that you take a dictionary to an original, and make fifty or hundred thousand hermetically separate transactions, translating, in effect, blind, and into a language not yours and no one else’s? Is that a book? Every word taken out of its association-proof shrink-wrapping? I don’t see how a personal vocabulary and personal grammar and a personal rhythm — at least where they exist, in anyone evolved enough to have them — are to be excluded. Chocolates carry warnings that they may have been manufactured using equipment that has hosted peanuts; why not translations too? But then not just “has written the occasional modern poem” but also “likes punk” or “early familiarity with the works of Dickens” or even “reads the Guardian” or “follows the Dow” or “fan of P.G. Wodehouse.” (Yes, dear reader, these are all me.) But we are all contaminated.
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