21 ene. 2006

More advice for translators:

Make sure to quote a lot of Walter Benjamin in the "Translator's Introduction." Make sure everyone knows translation is a near mystical experience. Remember: the process is everything; nobody cares how good the finished product is as long as they know you had a profound experience along the way.

Never use dictionaries. If you don't know what a word means just trust your "poet's intuition."

Never translate from a language you know well.

Disdain the expertise of mere "scholars." Translation is a lofty calling far removed from their pedantic concerns with accuracy. Quote some Benjamin again to quiet any objections. Quote Lawrence Venuti to complain how translators don't get any respect.

If anyone complains about the fact your translation is unreadable, say 'It's only a translation, after all." Remind them, though, that translation is actually more "essential" to literature than mere original works. In the resulting confusion you can make a quick escape.

If you are scholar, on the other hand, disdain the efforts of mere poets, dabblers who don't understand what they are doing. Never combine good scholarship with poetic discretion. The two don't mix.

Confine your efforts to poets who have already been translated a lot. Lorca and Neruda are always safe bets. Nobody wants to hear about new poets.

If you must use rhyme, make sure it's half-rhyme, slant-rhyme, eye-rhyme, assonance, consonance, alliteration, rhyme-whenever-you-feel-like-it-rhyme. Just gesture vaguely in the direction of rhyme and your reader will feel satisfied. By the same token, as long as your translation looks more or less like blank verse, just call it loose blank verse and quote Eliot about the shadow of iambic pentameter haunting all free verse. The most supple blank verse, everyone knows, has approximately 6 to 28 syllables per line.

2 comentarios:

Bob dijo...

Thank you for the belly laughs!

nolapoet dijo...

We are a poet and a translator/ interpreter, and we have been laughing our butts off.

Do supply corollary advice for poets who would be translators, and/or who ollaborate with translators who are not themselves poets.

We get out so infrequently. ;)