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Universidad Nacional de La Plata
Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación
Departamento de Lenguas y Literaturas Modernas
Traducción Literaria 1
Consigna de trabajo 1 (Prof. Montezanti)
Fecha de entrega: 5 de abril de 2020
Lea con atención el artículo “Literary Translation in the West: A Struggle for
Recognition”, de Rainer Schulte (1978). Traduzca los primeros dos párrafos.
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Referencia:
Shulte, Rainer (1978) “Literary Translation in the West: A Struggle for
Recognition”. World Literature Today, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Spring, 1978), pp. 208213.
Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
Literary Translation in the West: A Struggle for Recognition
Author(s): Rainer Schulte
Source: World Literature Today, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Spring, 1978), pp. 208-213
Published by: Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma
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208
WORLD LITERATURE TODAY
3 Ricardo Gullon, Literaturaespanola contempordnea,New York,
Scribner's,1965, p. 533.
4 Manuel Duran-Gili, "Spanish and Catalan Literature," World
LiteratureSince 1945, Ivar Ivask, Gero von Wilpert, eds., New York,
Ungar, 1973, p. 611.
5 Kessel Schwartz, Vicente Aleixandre, Boston, Twayne, 1970, p.
99. This is still the only book of criticismin English on Aleixandre.
The critical bibliography in Spanish is of course extensive: see
especiallyCarlos Bousono, La poesia de Vicente Aleixandre, Madrid,
Gredos, 1956; and Jose Olivio Jimenez devotes a long chapter to
Aleixandre in his Cinco poetas del tiempo, Madrid, Insula, 1964. In
Italian there is Vittorio Bodini, La parola poetica di Vicente Aleixandre, Rome, Bulzoni, 1971. A chapter on Aleixandre can also be
found, in English, in C. B. Morris,A Generationof Spanish Poets:
1920-1936, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1969. As for
translations of Aleixandre's poetry into English, we have Stephen
Kessler's translation of twenty-two poems from the poet's fourth
book, Destruction or Love, Santa Cruz, Ca., Green Horse; The
Cave of Night, JoefrreyBartman, tr., Solo, 1976; and Lewis Hyde
and Robert Bly have recently issued Twenty Poems of Vicente Aleixandre, a. selection from several periods and books (available at 8
Donnell St. / Cambridge,Ma.).
6 Schwartz,p. 119.
7 Ibid., pp. 130-31.
sThe New York Times Book Review, 30 October 1977, p. 52.
Vicente Aleixandre in Books Abroad/World Literature Today
(1933-1978)
1. Espadascomo labios (Madrid, Espasa-Calpe,1932),
reviewed by Calvert J. Winter in BA 7:4, p. 484.
2. Carlos Bousono, La poesia de Vicente Aleixandre,
2nd ed. (Madrid, Gredos, 1956), reviewed by
Claudio Guillen in BA 32:1, p. 67.
3. Los encuentros (Madrid, Guadarrama, 1958), reviewed by James R. Browne in BA 34:3, p. 287.
4. Poesias completas (Madrid, Aguilar, 1960), reviewed by Howard T. Young in BA 35:2, p. 175.
5. Presencias (Barcelona,Seix Barral, 1965), reviewed
by Edward Sarmiento in BA 40:4, pp. 450-5L
6. "JorgeGuillen Came from Seville,"in BA 42:1, pp.
12-13.
7. Poesia superrealista (Barcelona, Barral, 1971), reviewed by Paul Hie in BA 46:3, pp. 455-56.
8. Didlogos del conocimiento (Barcelona, Plaza y
Janes, 1974), reviewed by A. P. Debicki in BA
49:4,p. 739.
9. Ivar Ivask, "Looking for Books and Their Makers
Abroad: Marginal Travel Notes from Europe
1974-75,"in BA 50:1, pp. 69-70.
10. Antologia total (Barcelona, Seix Barral, 1975), reviewed by A. P. Debicki in WLT 51:1, p. 72.
11. Jose Luis Cano, ed., Vicente Aleixandre (Madrid,
Taurus, 1977), reviewed by John Crispin in WLT
52:2,p. 263.
12. Manuel Duran, "Vicente Aleixandre, Last of the
Romantics: The 1977 Nobel Prize for Literature,"
in WLT 52:2,pp. 203-208.
Literary Translation in the West: A Struggle for Recognition
By RAINER SCHULTE
The twentieth centuryhas
become multinational in
its perspective, and the
need for translations in all areas of human activity is
more urgent now than it has been in past centuries. In
the creativeliteraryworld, writers now travel more frequently and easily from one country to another; cultural and artisticexchangesbetween nations occur with
greater frequency, and writers themselves look to the
literaryproductionof other countriesas a sourceof new
enrichment and greater global understanding.In addition to this, many writers themselvespracticethe art of
translationas an exercise which enriches and expands
the intensity of their own writing; they consider the
act of translation a creative act which augments their
competenceand awarenessin their own language.
Despite this rise in internationalism within the creative literary world, the academic world has remained
rather inactive in the field of translation. Very few
institutions in the United States and Europe have developed serious programs in the craft and theory of
translation.Also, many language and comparativeliterature departments oppose the use of translationsin
academic studies, maintaining that the reader "misses
too much because the translation cannot possibly capture the essence of the work in its original language."It
does remain a fact, however, that most human beings
do not learn more than two or three languages in their
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SCHULTE
lifetime and therefore have to rely heavily on translations. Only a small percentage of readers in the Western world can competently read texts from Eastern
Europe or the Orient, so these texts can only be transmitted to a more general audience through translations.
It is time that translationbe consideredan important
part of the study of literature,from both a creative and
a scholarlypoint of view. Students involved in the art
of translation will acquire an intensified sensitivity to
the literary text and refine their methods of literary
interpretation.Translationdoes, after all, bring students
into close contact with cross-culturalexchanges in the
contemporaryliterary world.
Perhaps the state of translationin the United States
today could be compared to the situation creative writing programs found themselves in ten or fifteen years
ago. For quite some time it was believed that creative
writing should not be a part of a regular program in
literature,but most literatureprograms today have incorporatedcoursesin creativewriting into their curriculum. While attendance in creative writing courses is
increasing, the enrollment in specialized English and
foreign literature courses is declining. One result has
been the development of broader degree programs
which integrate creative and critical competences, to
the benefit of each. The teaching of creativewriting has
enriched the study of literature rather than impoverishedit.
Today it is common for literaturedepartmentsto hire
new faculty members who have experience in creative
writing and literary scholarship. Several programs in
the country train students in these areas, so that the
award of a Ph.D. is not restricted to either creative
writing or literary scholarship.People who have actual
experiencein writing often are better qualified to train
students to read literary texts more closely, carefully
and exactly.The approachto the text, of course, will be
different and much less burdened with the jargon of
literaryscholarship.
To find instructorsqualified to teach creativewriting
is becoming easieras these programsexpand. However,
there are very few instructors who have any kind of
training or experiencein teaching and organizing translation workshops. The doors to a future reorientation
in that directionare wide open, but it will probablytake
another five years before any kind of organized and
meaningful translation curriculum will become integrated into academic literature programs. Ideally, a
translationcurriculum can accomplish many goals beyond the production of competent translations. HowEd. Note: The essaysby RainerSchulte and E. J. Czerwinski were
presented at WLT's symposium on "TranslationPrograms East and
West," held in December 1977 at the annual meeting of the Modern
Language Association.
209
ever, because of past views that translation was not a
scholarly activity, the development of these programs
is difficult, although progressing.
Those who are involved in directing workshopsknow
that it takes a tremendousamount of researchand preparationto make a workshop successful.Often it requires
the participation of more than one instructor to deal
with the varioustexts in order to overcome the language
restrictionsof each individual instructor and meet the
language competences of the students. An absence of
a developed methodology, learning aids and textbooks
further compounds these difficulties.
What a study in translationentails cannot be outlined
in detail in this context, but a few comments should be
made about how translationfits into the overall framework of a humanities studies program and how it enriches the study of literature.
The art of translation provides the student with a
methodological and linguistic framework that, by its
very nature, is interdisciplinaryin practice.Translation
not only promotes language awareness and requires a
thought process which revitalizes the use of language,
it constitutesan act of doing, a re-creationof an original
situation and atmosphere in a different language medium, a transplantationof ideas and conceptsfrom one
language or culture to another. That act of transplantation happens on several levels of the thought processat
the same time and cannot be implemented by a linear
transferencefrom one word to the next. The mental
practice required of the student must be based on an
associative thought process rather than a linear one,
since the former generatesthe interactionof objectsand
ideas and the latter is merely content oriented. Translation, if seen as an act of transplantinga work, with all
its emotional content and complexity, into different
cultural contexts, will teach the student methods of
developing associative thinking and will force an expansion of knowledge in spatial rather than in linear
ways.
The word, or a sequence of words, does not simply
imply fixed meaning, but rathergives directionto meaning or meanings. Written language must therefore be
assessedin its cultural dimensions and with the weight
that the history of that culture has given to the word.
Translation encourages complexity of thought built on
a very concrete and, at the same time, subtle base: the
actualword. Translation continuouslyenactsthe vitality
of words in the present; translations change in their
wording and perspective from decade to decade, even
within the life-spans of translatorswho decide to redo
translationsthey have done earlier.All these phenomena
confirm that the act of translationis closelyin tune with
the linguistic and cultural changes which occur from
one year to the next. Translation practice brings us
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210
WORLD LITERATURE TODAY
closer to the pulse of change and perhaps helps us to
participate in that change.
Translation,then, could be considereda fundamental,
practical tool for reaching a truly integrated methodological perspectiveof artistic,sociocultural,philosophical and historical interaction and growth in the humanities. Academic training through the re-creativeart
of translationis perhaps the most fundamental activity
in expanding a disciplinary background into an interdisciplinary orientation. Perhaps humanistic studies
should be anchored in the art and practice of translation. When a translatoris involved in transferring one
level of language into another,he is forced to step from
one frame of referenceinto another.This forces a shift
in his angle of perspectiveand preventshim from falling
back into cliche approachesto the text. Translation can
once again revitalize the interpretation of the text, it
can offer new realms to scholarly and intellectual pursuits, and it can cultivate a student's creative potential
by expanding his own mental and creative abilities.
Academic institutions in Europe, the United States
and Canada have done very little to promote the cause
of translationwithin their literatureor humanities programs. In this particular case, institutions in Europe
follow a long tradition of separatingscholarlyfrom creative work. Most European universities require their
students to participatein seminars that deal with translations as a part of their regular preparation for an
academic degree. However, these translation seminars
are restrictedto scholarlytexts, since the translationof
so-calledcreativetexts does not fall within the realm of
scholarly pursuit. Very few universities have creative
writing programs as a regular part of the curriculum.
The development of creative writing as an integral feature of literature programs was first developed on a
large scale in the United States and Canada.The translation of poets and writers is customarilydone by nonacademic people who have acquired their translation
skills on their own. In Europe many schools not connected with academic universities teach people to become composers,writers or performers.Their final degrees are, in general, nonacademic degrees. It is amazing that in a time of serious enrollment problems,doors
arebeing closedto innovationsthat could bring students
back into the study of literature.
In general, American academic institutions have less
historical tradition and are therefore often more open
to experiment with new ideas than are European universities.There any attempt at innovation is hampered
by centuries of well-establishedtradition. Thus it can
be said that the development of academic translation
programs is most advanced in the United States, even
though, objectively speaking, these attempts are still
rare. Within the next five to ten years the art and craft
of translation will expand rapidly in academic institutions.
Programslike the ones at the University of Arkansas,
University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin, Columbia University, SUNY at Binghamton,1the University
of British Columbia and the University of Texas at
Dallas and Austin are offering courseson the theory or
craft of translation.2Although some programshave allowed students to preparea translationas an acceptable
master'sor doctoral thesis within a literatureprogram,
these theses are not common and are usually accompanied by a scholarlyintroduction. The preparationof
a translation, which frequently requires extensive research of a different kind, might be more profitablefor
a student than writing another dissertationon subject
matters that have been exhausted by already existing
scholarlyworks. It is also a fact that many institutions
do not consider translations done by faculty members
on their staff to be acceptable scholarly achievements
which could count toward promotion and salaryraises,
while they would accept a book review in such a light.
Such attitudes will soon have to be revised, since faculty
members have received, and will continue to receive,
national and international recognition through their
translations.
Translation within literatureprogramsshould not be
restrictedto the translatingof scholarlyarticlesand texts
but should include creative works as well, so that a
meaningful balancebetween theory and practicecan be
established.Translation together with creative writing
will train the student to read the literary text in a different, perhaps more intense way.
Because of the particular international business developmentsin the twentieth centuryalmost all countries
of the Western world have organized their technical
translatorsin the form of associationswhich deal mostly
with the specific translation problems that occur in
technical translation. However, these associations are
now becoming awareof the necessityof paying attention
to translation in nonscientific areas, especially the humanities. From a financialpoint of view, translationsin
the humanities can hardly be compared to translations
done in the scientific areas. Remuneration for literary
texts is still very low, and only a joint effort by translatorsto educate the public and the publisherswill bring
about any kind of substantialchange. For literarytranslators to live on the income from their translationsis
almost impossible.Many translatorsare connected with
academic institutions and do not rely on earnings from
their translationsas the primarysourceof income.
European countrieshave in the past directedsubstantial amounts of government money toward the translation of literarytexts. Subsidies might come either in the
form of a sum of money given directly to the publisher
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SCHULTE
of a translation to cover production cost or they may
take the form of an advance order of several hundred
copies of the book when it is published. Generally the
sponsor who buys these copies gives them away to interested people. Naturally this method has a great
disadvantage, since the sponsoring organization will
probablygive the copies to those people who would be
most likely to buy copies of the book. Thus part of the
potential market is eliminated. Subsidies come from
various sources in each country. In general, government money for cultural and artistic events is much
more available in Europe than in the United States.
Until very recently no government money was directed
toward translationin the United States. The National
Endowment for the Humanities has now established
funds to support individual translators with their
various projects, although the specifications of these
grants make them more available for texts from the
past, or from unusual languages, rather than for texts
from the contemporaryscene.
During its last meeting (May 1977in Montreal) the
InternationalFederation of Translators (FIT)3 passed
a specialresolution to encourage comparativeliterature
programs to make the art and theory of translation a
regularpart of their curriculum.Such a resolution will
not have an immediate effect, but the fact that it was
passed shows an increasing concern about the neglect
of translation in the academic world. It is especially
reassuring that an international organization such as
FIT, whose basic orientation is technical translations,
is willing to further the cause of literary translation.
During the meeting, several sessions were dedicated to
literary translations.The American Translators Association, again an active associationin the field of technical translations, has only recently shown a greater
interest in literary translations. However, the newly
instituted American Literary Translators Association
(ALTA) has made it its task to improve the state of
literary translations, seeking, among other goals, to
promote the quality of literarytranslationsin the English-speaking world, to give a strong voice to literary
translationsin the academic world, to enrich the study
of the humanities through the art of translation,to expand the market for literary translationspublished in
English and to intensify the dialogue among literary
translatorsthrough annual meetings.
All three associations have a publication outlet for
their organization. Babel: International Journal of
Translationis connected with the InternationalFederation of Translators;the American TranslatorsAssociation publishes a Newsletter which deals almost exclusively with problems of technical translations; and
ALTA's officialpublicationwill be the TranslationReview, the first issue of which is scheduled to appear in
211
the spring of 1978. Translation Review will present
evaluations of books in the arts and humanities translated into English, focusing on the quality of the
literary translations. It will feature essays on translators, publishers and authors who participate in the
world of translation.It will include discussionsof books
and essays dealing with the translationprocess. It will
monitor translations in progress and reference works,
and it will discuss the progressof translationprograms
in the country and provide a forum for ideas pertaining
to the art and craft of translationin the humanities.
Although it is not connected with any officialorganization, specialmention must be made of a new journal
entitled Translation,edited by Stefan Congrat-Butler.4
The firstissue appearedin January1977,and the journal
is subtitled "a quarterly samizdat journal of materials
for a history of American translation."Translation will
coordinatea great number of areas relating to the field
of translation, from legal problems to bibliographical
information. One other journal should be added to this
list of publications: Meta: Translators Journal, which
is published in Canada and deals primarily with problems of technicaltranslations.
In the English-speaking world several journals dedicated to presenting literary texts in translation have
been started. There are European journals which publish translations,but not on a regular basis. A\zente, a
German literary magazine, and Les Lettres Nouvelles
arc just two examples.The number of translationjournals in the United States and Canadais steadilyincreasing. There are journalswhich have repeatedlydedicated
an entire issue or a major part of one issue to translations. Mundus Artium: A Journalof InternationalLiterature and the Arts presents contemporarypoets and
writers from all languages. Special issues have included
selections of contemporary Arabic, French, Swedish
and Spanish American literature. Poetry texts from
Western languages are presented in bilingual form.
Translations include poetry, fiction, drama and criticism. Modern Poetry in Translation,published in England, presents international poetry in translation, as
the title indicates.Specialissues have included selections
of Turkish, Italian, French and German poetry. Dimension: Contemporary German Arts and Letters is
the most comprehensive bilingual publication of contemporary German letters. It consistently presents the
newest writers from German-speakingcountries. Contemporary Literature in Translation publishes contemporary as well as non-contemporaryliterary texts.
The journal Translation, published at Columbia University, presentsboth critical articleson translationand
translationsof original works. A fairly new journal is
the InternationalPoetry Review, which startedpublication in 1975 and has already published several special
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212
WORLD LITERATURE TODAY
national issues including French, German and Spanish
selections. And lastly, Modern International Drama
should be mentioned in this context, since it has from
its inception published plays in translationfrom a great
varietyof languages.
Other journals which present translations as part of
their regular editorial policy are Tri-Quarterly,Prism
International, Quarterly Review of Literature, Stand,
The American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Chicago
Review, Malahat Review, Review (specializing in
Latin American literature), Denver Quarterly and
others. This list does not pretend to be complete. Complete listings and evolving directories of translation
journals will be found in the TranslationReview. The
number of these journals only indicates that interest in
literarytranslationis increasing yearly, especiallywhen
one considers the number of recently started journals
dedicated to translations. The journals will also provide new scholarlyoutlets for faculty members as well
as prospective students of literature. As in all other
areasof scholarly activity, the quality of translationsin
these journals varies greatly. It will be the function of
future translationprogramsto address,in a very serious
manner,how the quality of translationcan be measured
and improved.
Although there are several journals in the Englishspeaking world publishing translations from the contemporary international literary scene, there is a great
need for the foundation of a journal that would regularly publish translations or retranslationsof non-contemporarytexts. At this point there are no real outlets
for those translations,and it might be quite appropriate
for an academic institution to get involved in such a
project to preserve and improve translationsfrom texts
written in past centuries.
The publishing world has largely ignored and neglected the publicationof books in translation.Publishers
are reluctant to take on an unknown writer in translation, since the additionalcost of having to pay the translatorsas well as the author does not make such a proposition attractive to them. An average-length novel in
translationwill cost a British publisher about $1,500to
$2,500more to producethan an original English novel.5
And unless the translatednovel is by a well-known foreign author familiar to the English reader, the book is
not even likely to do as well as an English novel might.
Unless an author has gained internationalrecognition,
it is extremely difficultto place a translationmanuscript
with a commercial publisher.
In Europe, translations of book projects have been
substantially supported by the efforts of UNESCO6
and individual government agencies. The intention of
UNESCO's literary translation program is to make
literatureswhich have no significant international cir-
culation known to a wider audience. Once a decision
on a particular book has been made, UNESCO supports the translator financially and helps finance the
actual publication.All translationsare made into either
French or English, and the majority of publisherswith
which UNESCO deals are located either in Europe or
the United States. UNESCO has, for example, started
a new program with Reclam Publishersin Stuttgart to
have about twenty books translatedinto German from
representative works in Oriental languages. The
UNESCO program, which has been functioning for
over twenty-five years, has been quite successful, and
more and more countrieshave become interestedin having their important literaryworks translatedinto other
languages.
In the United States the publication of translationsis
witnessing a rather rapid and perhaps vital change
which might affect the future of commercialpublishers
in a ratherunexpectedway : more and more translations
are published by small presses. Their number is quite
extensive at this point, and their names are too numerous to be listed in this context. However, the small
presses are organizing their own distributionand have
learned in the last few years that they can indeed sell
more copies of a first book of poems, fiction or translation than can a major commercialpublisher.Since publishers are reluctantto take on translationsby unknown
poets and writers, the small presses might take over a
substantialpart of that market, which could mean that
in the long run even commercially viable translations
might no longer go to commercialpublishers.The government has given money to explore and support the
small press market. Small presses together with university pressesmight just become the most vital and important outlet for publications of translations in the
future.
The atmosphere is right for major developments in
the area of literary translations, and academic institutions should take advantage of the enriching possibilities that the theory and craft of translationcan bring to
their literature programs. Translation might after all
succeed in once again making students creativereaders
of the original and translatedtext, an activity that has
been so thoroughly neglected in English and comparative literaturecourses.Translation will intensify the exchange between the reader and the text by not obscuring such an interaction through overspecialized,often
irrelevantscholarlyarticlesthat people bring to the text
before they actually get involved in reading it. Translation should furthermore be considered as one of the
most rigorous mental activities to develop methods for
the expansion of associativethinking; the act of translation leads to a more integrated humanistic thinking
that propagates cross-fertilizationof disciplines rather
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CZERWINSKI
than the isolation of specialization within one specific
discipline.
Translation workshops will make students want to
go back to enlarge their own knowledge of the source
language from which they are translating.In that sense
translation could easily increase foreign language enrollment rather than decrease it. Translation will provide students and faculty memberswith new outlets for
publication both as translatorsand scholars.Very few
researchprojects have been carried out in the fields of
literarytranslation.Exciting and stimulating topics for
theses are in abundance right now to find answers to
the numerous questions that must be asked in the area
of translation; and finally, one should not forget that
the act of translationis a very enjoyable one.
University of Texas, Dallas
213
1 The State University of New York at Binghamton has just published an eighty-two-page book entitled Translationin the Humanities, edited by Marilyn Gaddis Rose. Of particular bibliographical
interest to prospective literary translatorsis the essay "Translation
Sourcesin the Humanities" by Michael Jasenas.
2 For a detailed discussion of the various Translation Centers in
the United States, see the June/July 1977 issue of Coda: Poets &
Writers Newsletter. For more information on translationprograms
in the United States see the listing preparedby the American Translators Association (revised March 1975) entitled "U.S. Colleges and
Universities Offering Training for Translators."
3 For addresses and further information on the various national
translators'organizations see the most recent issues of Babel: InternationalJournalof Translation.
4 See also the June/July 1977 issue of Coda, p. 23, and Publishers
Weekly, 11 July 1977, pp. 35 ff.
5 For details on this subject see Ewald Oser's speech "The State
of LiteraryTranslation and the Status of the Literary Translatorin
Britain,"delivered during the meeting of FIT in Montreal, 1977.
6 For more information on the UNESCO translationprogram see
Babel, 23:1 (1977).
Literary Translation in the East: Toward a More Perfect Erewhon
By E. J. CZERWINSKI Fifteen years ago, while attending a performance or
Romeo and Juliet at the
Teatr Polski in Warsaw, I found myself playing the
"word-game." After repeated exercises in recalling
Shakespeare'siambs, I became quite frustrated:what I
was hearing seemed to be the voice of a very efficient
translatorat the United Nations. The poetry was gone
- only words, words, words. In my reverie I came to
certain conclusions: that it was impossible to re-create
poetry from one language to another, that even great
poetrysufferedthe passagefrom one countryto another,
that it was a fool's journey I had embarked upon, to
translatethe Polish Theatre of the Absurd into English,
that . . . Suddenly I was hearing Shakespeare,the Balcony Scene. I was wrong; it could be done. Great poetry
was great poetry in any language. The words were different-Polish - but there was no mistaking Shakespeare's voice: Shakespeare, the maker and destroyer
of the greatest of metariddles.
Two years later, upon returning to the University
of Wisconsin to complete my doctorate, I recounted
my experienceat the Teatr Polski to one of my advisers,
a woman with a phenomenal memory. (It was said of
her that she could tell you the exact time and place that
Augustus Caesar had gone to the bathroom on a specific day, provided of course that she had at one time or
anotherread of the particularsin the august personage's
memoirs or obituary.) In one brief moment she man-
aged to enchant and disenchant me: "Of course,"she
lisped in Polish, "you were listening to one of the greatest poets in the Slavic world. Adam Mickiewicz translated that scene in the nineteenth century, and a less
talented poet merely interpolatedthe scene into his less
skillfully executed text." I checked the source: damn
it, she was right, as always. "One of the greatest poets
in the Slavic world" indeed had recorded faithfully
what he had heard in his heart. The secret had been
revealed: only great poets could render great translations.
But what then happens to normal mortals who try
desperately to do the impossible? Should they keep
working to perfect their meager talents? Pray? Surrender? The logical answer is to study the language in
which the work is written and do away with translations altogether, since, according to Robert Frost and
seconded by all men of good will, poetry is that which
is lost in translation. But who has talent enough and
time to undertake what would eventually amount to
the building of verbal towers of Babel? Let us not belaborthe point: translatorsare artists-by-proxy.Furthermore, the wedding of a creative work to a new heircreator is called a translation. The overriding obstacle
to this processis the time we live in; for, verily, it is not
that there is a scarcityof works or capable artist-translators to choose from- in any language. The problem
lies with a society that has become orally and visually
oriented. We are losing our readership.
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