Every text is unique and, at the same time, it is the translation of another text. No text is entirely original because language itself, in its essence, is already a translation: firstly, of the non-verbal world and secondly, since every sign and every phrase is the translation of another sign and another phrase. However, this argument can be turned around without losing any of its validity: all texts are original because every translation is distinctive. Every translation, up to a certain point, is an invention and as such it constitutes a unique text.
There is an old Italian proverb about the nature of translation: "Traddutore, traditore!" This means simply, "Translators-traitors!" Of course, as you can see, something is lost in the translation of this pithy expression: there is great similarity in both the spelling and the pronunciation of the original saying, but these get diluted once they are put in English dress. Even the translation of this proverb illustrates its truth!
The practice of translation rests on two presuppositions. The first is that we are all different: we speak different tongues, and see the world in ways that are deeply influenced by the particular features of the tongue that we speak. The second is that we are all the same - that we can share the same broad and narrow kinds of feelings, information, understandings, and so forth. Without both of these suppositions, translation could not exist. Nor could anything we would like to call social life. Translation is another name for the human condition.
General editors' preface The growth of translation studies as a separate discipline is a success story of the 1980s. The subject has developed in many parts of the world and is clearly destined to continue developing well into the twenty-first century. Translation studies brings together work in a wide variety of fields, including linguistics, literary study, history, anthropology, psychology, and economics. This series of books will reflect the breadth of work in translation studies and will enable readers to share in the exciting new developments that are taking place at the present time.
To translate, one must have a style of his own, for the translation will have no rhythm or nuance, which come from the process of artistically thinking through and molding the sentences; they cannot be reconstituted by piecemeal imitation. The problem of translation is to retreat to a simpler tenor of one's own style and creatively adjust this to one's author.
So I hear we get to go to town this weekend. Want to catch a movie or something? --Z P.S. That is, if Jimmy doesn't mind. Translation: This weekend might be a good chance for us to see each other outside our school in a social environment, free of competetiton. I do not view other boys as threats, and I enjoy making them seem insignificant by calling them the wrong names. (Translation by Macey McHenry)
So I hear we get to go to town this weekend. Want to catch a movie or something? -Z P.S. That is, if Jimmy doesn't mind. Translation: This weekend might be a good chance for us to see each other outside our school in a social environment, free of competetiton. I do not view other boys as threats, and I enjoy making them seem insignificant by calling them the wrong names. (Translation by Macey McHenry)
Poetry is a second translation of the soul's feeling; it must be rendered into thought, and thought must change its nebulous robe of semi-wording into definite language, before it reaches another heart. Music is a first translation of feeling, needing no second, but entering the heart direct.
Frances Ridley Havergal
Translation is a kind of transubstantiation; one poem becomes another. You can choose your philosophy of translation just as you choose how to live: the free adaptation that sacrifices detail to meaning, the strict crib that sacrifices meaning to exactitude. The poet moves from life to language, the translator moves from language to life; both, like the immigrant, try to identify the invisible, what's between the lines, the mysterious implications.
Our words are often only vague, inadequate descriptions of our thoughts. Something gets lost in translation every time we try to express our thoughts in words. And when the other person hears our words, something gets lost in translation again, because words mean different things to different people. "A long time" may mean 10 hours to one person, but 10 days to another. So when a thought is formed in my brain, and my mouth expresses it in words, and your ears hear it, and your brain processes it, your brain and my brain never truly see exactly the same thing. Communication is always just an approximation.
Abba is not Hebrew, the language of liturgy, but Aramaic, the language of home and everyday life ... We need to be wary of the suggestion ... that the correct translation of Abba is 'Daddy.' Abba is the intimate word of a family circle where that obedient reverence was at the heart of the relationship, whereas Daddy is the familiar word of a family circle from which all thoughts of reverence and obedience have largely disappeared ... The best English translation of Abba is simply 'Dear Father.
Thomas Allan Smail
Lee's hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. 'Don't you see?' he cried. 'The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in 'Thou shalt, ' meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel-'Thou mayest'- that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if 'Thou mayest'-it is also true that 'Thou mayest not.' Don't you see?