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Friday, January 29, 2016

Three of Four Principles of Translation

In its simplest form, the translation of poetry:

Should be attentive to meaning. It should not mistranslate in explicit ways.

It needs to be good poetry. A bad poem cannot claim to be a good translation of good poem.

More specifically, the peculiar virtues of the original should shine forth in the translation, whatever those virtues happen to be. The stuff that makes the original poem good. So it is poem of verbal wit? Let the translation be so too.

These claims are not extreme in any way, yet somehow I fear I am in the minority.

My plan to translate the Suites has fallen through, since there will be an edition coming out in '17. I want to do something I am calling "Lorca cantabile": an anthology of poems that represent his most singable moments.


Leslie B. said...

An interesting alternative.

Who is doing the other translation ? ? ?

Jonathan said...

Roberta Quance.

Leslie B. said...


On this, why do you think you are in the minority?

"These claims are not extreme in any way, yet somehow I fear I am in the minority."

Jonathan said...

Based on the practice of translators. For example, not preserving a syntactic parallelism when it's easy to do so, or overexplaining something when it's easy not to. If people agreed with me this would not happen.