What I really mean is: the kind of translation theory & analysis that we apply to poetry typically, the kind that emphasizes the preservation of literary value, has no relevance to translation in which this transfer of value is not relevant. A mediocre poem doesn't have that aura.
To understand a subtle or complex idea, your mind actually has to be that subtle, so smart people can recognize one another at times by that. Have you ever had your great idea cited in a less subtle context? This was the whole problem behind theoretical applications of Derrida and so forth. They had to be bastardized by their very nature, by being applications of theories half-understood at most.
This maybe explains how I have failed to get students interested in ideas. I say, "do you see how awesome this idea is, what it implies?" and they look at me, sometimes, with a blank stare.
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