A draft post

These are my scrambled notes, that I will turn into a lecture.

Do you agree with Don Quixote in the quotation below? Is a translation always an impoverishment of the original? Is the practice of translation anything beyond a mechanical exercise?

Pero, con todo esto, me parece que el traducir de una lengua en otra, como no sea de las reinas de las lenguas, griega y latina, es como quien mira los tapices flamencos por el revés, que aunque se veen las figuras, son llenas de hilos que las escurecen y no se veen con la lisura y tez de la haz; y el traducir de lenguas fáciles ni arguye ingenio ni elocución, como no le arguye el que traslada ni el que copia un papel de otro papel.” –Don Quixote en M. de Cervantes, Don Quixote II: LXII, “Que trata de la aventura de la cabeza encantada, con otras niñerías que no pueden dejar de contarse.”

What is translation? What does it involve?
What kinds of information do translations impart, and what do they distort or obscure? How and why do we make choices in the practice of translation? How do the contexts and goals of a particular translation project influence these choices? What balances between fidelity to the original and idiomatic use of the target language should one strike? Why is translation an act of interpretation? What roles does translation have in literary, linguistic and cultural studies? What is translation as a professional or technical field? What is the emerging academic field Translation Studies? >- Literary and philological perspectives on translation: translation as textual study and interpretation
– Translation, metaphor and the nature of language
– Translation and the encounter with otherness or difference

– Should translation “tame the wild tongue” (Anzaldúa), domesticate the text of the Other, or not? (perspectives from Walter Benjamin)

c/ What can translation do? What can it not do?

1. Translation as a mere technical or secretarial problem – does that perspective take into account the actual nature of language and of texts? El desprestigio de la traducción

2. Translation as interpretive activity, and as craft or art. Is translation an exact science? Or, does it raise scientific questions?

3. The role of research in translation – the question of context, embeddedness of texts in these

4. Translation, colonization, globalization; dominant and “minor” languages: translation is political

5. Translation, language, linguistics —

Meschonnic: “Par la théorie des textes qu’elle implique, la poétique de la traduction ne peut pas être une linguistique appliquée [– c’est une] poétique experimentale” (1972)

6. Writers and theorists who say surprising things, perhaps:

a. Benjamin: otherness / traces of the original in the translation

b. Borges (versiones homéricas): translation as non-secondary, as a an attribute of textuality

c. Steiner: all communication involves translation, so translation is a primary and not a secondary activity

d. Cervantes: translation is an ever-present problem


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