5 de dez de 2009

Translation Alchemists | Alquimistas da tradução

We've been "talking about" literary translation here so I thought this article, The Literary Translation Alchemists, by Anne-Marie Deraspe, published in Tabaret, the magazine of the University of Ottawa, would be interesting to complement our discussion. Some of the opinions in it don't relate exclusively to literary translation, for example: “Translators and interpreters have always played a determining role in the development of their societies and have been fundamental to the unfolding of intellectual history itself.”  (Jean Delisle, professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Translation and Interpretation). If you're ever feeling frustrated because you're translating something "dry", think about this - you're contributing to the development of society, whatever it is you are translating! :-)

Another rather obvious statement is also a good reminder, especially for publishers: “You can’t be an educated reader without reading translations. Otherwise, you would have to speak an incalculable number of languages.” (Sheila Fischman, translator). And for those who aspire to be writers themselves: “Translation liberated me and in a way gave me permission to become a writer. Translation imposes a silence that aids my development. Translating great writers has inspired me to go further, to become a better writer myself.” (Daniel Poliquin )

We are all "alchemists" in a sense. So I think you will enjoy reading the article. Here's the first paragraph:

      Since the dawn of writing, translation has facilitated the constant flow of ideas and forms, spreading knowledge and allowing the import and export of cultures. It is thanks to translators that historians have been able to gauge the permeability of borders between the East and West in ancient times, and to discover how India, China, Iraq and Spain have each in turn shaped and nourished western culture. Part of our mathematics, for instance, is based on the Indian numbering system, which was translated into Arabic and then into Latin and eventually transmitted to modern times. The same is true of many scientific and philosophical texts inspired by Indian and Chinese concepts and traditions that passed through Muslim Spain before being incorporated into European culture. [Click here to continue reading]

(Found out about this article through a tweet by @calutateo)

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