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Literary translation quotes
Thread poster: Toralf Mjelde

Toralf Mjelde  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Sep 2, 2007

Hi,

I thought it would be an interesting project to see how many quotes there are out there in the world of literature on the art of translation.

The inspiration comes from reading a book on the Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-1806), where a friend of these two legendary captains, in the middle of indian territory during winter camp, notes that "translation was more an art form than scientific at Fort Mandan".

I think this is very exciting, and would love to hear from others with similar experiences!

Best,

Toralf

[Edited at 2007-09-03 04:39]


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Anamar2304
Local time: 13:39
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Some quotes on the art of translation... Sep 3, 2007

Hi, Toralf!

Your project is quite interesting indeed.
You made me to remember the most recent novel by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, "Aventuras de la niña mala", which tells the story of a translator/interpreter and has a whole chapter on the art of translation titled "El trujumán". I don't know if the novel has already be translated into English; if so, i recomend you to read it, because it's such a delightful story for translators.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of quotes as a contribution.

“‘Reading a poem in translation…is like kissing a woman through a veil."
Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces.

"Beautiful translations are like beautiful women, that is to say, they are not always the most faithful ones."
George Steiner in After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation

"…translating from one language into another… is like gazing at a Flemish tapestry with the wrong side out: even though the figures are visible, they are full of threads that obscure the view and are not bright and smooth as when seen from the other side."
Miguel de Cervantes in The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha

"Translators can be considered as busy matchmakers who praise as extremely desirable a half-veiled beauty. They arouse an irresistible yearning for the original."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832), German poet, dramatist. Art and Antiquity, V, 3 (1826).

And you may find other quotes in this blog: http://brave-new-words.blogspot.com/search/label/quotes%20on%20translation

Best regards from Venezuela, Anamar


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Aleph _Trans
Argentina
Local time: 14:39
English to Spanish
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It already exists in ProZ.com Sep 3, 2007

Hello Toralf

Hope you are well.

If I understand you correctly there is a thread (6 pages long) located at http://www.proz.com/topic/30925

It was started by my associate, Au Humarán. She has a collection/compendium of quotes (I think registered) that she started over 25 years ago.

She transcribed (no Internet at that time to copy and paste) her 1st paragraph (from After Babel, George Steiner) at school when studying translation , that was over 25 years ago. Even today, many times she transcribes from notes and books (citing the source) as there is not recollection at the WWW.

You may want to contact her at aurora@alephtranslations.com

Cheers,

JL

Ps you may search the Spanish fora as there is a HUGE collection there as well.


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
From Boris Pasternak Sep 3, 2007

Hi Toralf,

Since I like painting, I like the following quote from Boris Pasternak:

Translation is very much like copying paintings.


I didn't really read it in a book, just found it once while surfing the web looking for Pasternak's biography (see http://www.answers.com/topic/boris-pasternak ).

It seems Pasternak's father was a known painter, thus probably the association Pasternak made between painting and translation.

Hope you find other interesting quotes,

Ivette

P.S.: just found an interesting link related precisely to the subject you are interested in:

http://www.catranslation.org/index.html

(and funny it is a "CAT" that doesn't have to do with translation technology...)

[Edited at 2007-09-03 11:17]


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john connolly
Local time: 17:39
German to English
Quotation (approximate!) from Nabokov's Bend Sinister Sep 3, 2007

ICL wrote:

Hi Toralf,

Since I like painting, I like the following quote from Boris Pasternak:

Translation is very much like copying paintings.


I didn't really read it in a book, just found it once while surfing the web looking for Pasternak's biography (see http://www.answers.com/topic/boris-pasternak ).

It seems Pasternak's father was a known painter, thus probably the association Pasternak made between painting and translation.

Hope you find other interesting quotes,

Ivette

P.S.: just found an interesting link related precisely to the subject you are interested in:

http://www.catranslation.org/index.html

(and funny it is a "CAT" that doesn't have to do with translation technology...)

[Edited at 2007-09-03 11:17]


Translating a work of literature is like growing a tree to cast the same shadow as the original. (I don't have the book at the moment, but that is pretty well what the Translator character says about his work)


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Toralf Mjelde  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Sep 4, 2007

Thank you all of you for valuable information, I appreciate it!

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