Sam Hamill on impersonating an author, and \'what\'s gained by translation\'
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:00
SITE FOUNDER
Apr 1, 2003

Sam Hamill: One of the things I love about translation is it obliterates the self. When I\'m trying to figure out what Tu Fu has to say, I have to kind of impersonate Tu Fu. I have to take on, if you will, his voice and his skin in English, and I have to try to get as deeply into the poem as possible. I\'m not trying to make an equivalent poem in English, which can\'t be done because our language can\'t accommodate the kind of metaphors within metaphors the Chinese written language can, and often does, contain...



The oldest cliché in the world is about \"what\'s lost in translation,\" but you don\'t very often read much intelligent about what\'s gained by translation, and the answer is everything. Our language is a compendium of translation.


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Andrea Bullrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:00
English to Spanish
Octavio Paz Apr 1, 2003

Quote:


Sam Hamill: One of the things I love about translation is it obliterates the self. When I\'m trying to figure out what Tu Fu has to say, I have to kind of impersonate Tu Fu. I have to take on, if you will, his voice and his skin in English





That´s what actors do! I had never made the connection...



Quote:


I\'m not trying to make an equivalent poem in English





Perhaps what Octavio Paz said about this will add food for thought: \"The starting point were poems in other languages; the destination, my attempt at writing, with them, poems in my own language.\" (\"El punto de partida fueron poemas escritos en otras lenguas; el de llegada, la tentativa de escribir, con ellos, poemas en la mía.\")



Andrea

(Thanks Bill )



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Ouadoud  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:00
English to Arabic
+ ...
A lot..sure! Apr 1, 2003

What gained by translation?

In fact when one focuses a bit in that direction, one is impressed by the quality & quantity of knowledge, sciences and arts that are carried from a language to another trough translation.

How much did the Romans add to their own heritage from Egyptians? The Arabs from Greeks?

Nowadays and because English is the world leading language, it\'s just impossible to quantify how much other nations have brought to English Speaking culture and civilisation..



All the best!



Ouadoud


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A candent question in translation theory Apr 1, 2003

It\'s still being argued how much of Unamuno\'s Schopenhauer was Unamuno and how much was Schopenhauer.



This was also the argument presented by certain proponents of translation copyright.



As for poetry: Nick Joaquin\'s version of \"Verde que te quiero verde\" was published as Joaquin\'s, not Lorca\'s, when he became poet laureate.


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:00
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Same difficulty with old documents Apr 2, 2003

At the moment, I am translating 18th century documents from old Dutch. How difficult it is to know how best to reflect the beauty of these documents containing quaint phrases borrowed from French and Latin, the pompous indignation over escaped slaves, the exaggerated titles (like \'Very Esteemed Highly-born Excellency), the mysterious abbreviations and the words I need to research on websites about paleontology...But what fun I\'m having, too! I feel very privileged doing such fascinating work.

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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:30
English to Hindi
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Losses and gains Apr 2, 2003

I can\'t recollect exactly who said it... perhaps Joseph Brodsky...perhaps someone else. Anyway, it is:: \'What is lost in poetry in gained in translation\'.
[addsig]


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 20:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
who and what... Apr 3, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-04-02 17:53, roomynaqvy wrote:

I can\'t recollect exactly who said it... perhaps Joseph Brodsky...perhaps someone else. Anyway, it is:: \'What is lost in poetry in gained in translation\'.





It was Robert Frost who said: “Poetry is what is lost in translation” and Joseph Brodsky who said that “Poetry is what is gained in translation”.



My personal opinion...(don´t kill me!): We translators are not supposed to enhance anything... Nothing should be gained after the translation process.

That frustrating...



Au

[ This Message was edited by: amh on 2003-04-03 21:00]

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Sam Hamill on impersonating an author, and \'what\'s gained by translation\'

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