20 nov. 2009

Constraint in Translation

An original text might be subjected to certain constraints. Rhyme schemes, metrical rules, Oulipean constraints, etc... The English translation of Perec's La disparition leaves out the letter e, respecting that constraint. Usually, however, translators simply ignore the degree of constraint in a text. The complicated rules of classical Chinese verse, or the alternation of feminine and masculine rhymes in French. The classic case is using approximate or half rhyme as an equivalent to a rather intensely constrained variety of rhyme.

1 comentario:

Vance Maverick dijo...

(Not sure who you're discussing this with other than me here -- hope you don't mind.)

This seems quite correct as a description of translators' practice. But judging by the one book of yours I've read, you're also interested in evaluating specific translations. So I imagine you have ideas about how translators should handle these problems, or how to judge the success of different approaches, etc. For example, do you give Binyon points for terza rima?