– Pierre Menard Author of the Quijote by Jorge Luis Borges
This well known text is probably one of the most intelligent and also most easily accessible texts on translation.
It is also Borges’ first short story.
– A short extract about the poet Alexander Pope,
Pope was famous for producing one of the most successful translations of Homer’s Iliad into English
This extract poses the traditional discussions within translation concerning fidelity and freedom, authenticity and the lack of it.
– A list of different languages’ definitions of “translation”.
I’ve included this, because in any discussion of translation it is also useful to take on board the fact that translation itself is an unstable concept. Different cultures emphasise and value different aspects of it, so it is in this respect culturally bound and open to interpretation. It also gives the etymology of the term and compares the process of translation with that of interpretation, and I think this is a useful to distinction to draw in any discussion of translation and also to its application to writing press releases.
– Benjamin’s The Task of the Translator
, essential reading
BRIEF NOTE OF DISCUSSION
In translation, something (an ‘X’) is carried across, between languages, or between object and word. But there is an Aporia, i.e. something cannot be translated, something cannot pass through.
Translation is not the same as Interpretation.
Ekfrasis – one medium is being used to represent another.
It is important that the statement recognises within itself the impossibitlity of summarising.
For Benjamin, the work of art demands to be continually translated. It exists in a state where the task of translation can be repeated on the work of art.
If the work of art is fully translatable, i.e. no more translations came come of it, it then ceases to be a work of art.
When words are made, it is similar to taking a photo.
Language is about information. The work of art resists information and meaning.
Derrida on the other hand does not take this view. Derrida believes that the work of art itself is a translation. It is split itself down a line.
For Borges, the translation can be better than the original.
Translation creates the gap that forms between the two objects of translation. The gap of translation is itself an ambivalence. To sit in that gap, to make from that gap or to make that gap is to be therefore ambi-valent.
Translation is an emmigration.
Translation is parallel potency.
One view is that translation is situated within a Judeo-Christian hierarchy of words and the creation myth. The original Word that created the world is translated down into other words. To attain perfect translation is to reach for Innocence, Perfection, Paradise. To make each word a Proper Noun.
Further Texts discussed at the session: