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August 11, 2008

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Comments

dj

That should be 54,000 American lives lost.

Oliver Kamm

Of course it should; sorry for my typo, which I'll now change.

Anthony

'You can't reasonably talk of "sacrifice" in the the Scott Moncrieff translation of Proust into English, and the Schlegel-Tieck translation of Shakespeare into German.'

Yeah, right. You're talking Moncrieff/Proust, but we all know you're thinking Hockridge&Bell/Asterix. ;)

antrastan

What is a translated work of literature, done poorly, if not one in which something is lost?

David Duff

An even more ticklish problem is looming larger over the horizon, that is, the 'translation' of Shakespeare's English into modern English. Not so much for the benefit of the man in his study, but for the playgoer in the audience. As an amateur, I have directed several Shakespeare plays and, I confess ('mea culpa'), that after a deal of nail-biting I have transposed the odd word from its incomprehensible original into its modern equivalent. However, it is obvious to me that it will not be too long (a century?) before whole passages might need 'translating'.

LeaNder

"and the Schlegel-Tieck translation of Shakespeare into German."

Not sure if we can call that a bowdlerized version, but it's slightly dated anyway. Very, very bad example.

Mark B.

I don't see how it is a 'category mistake'. Something distinctively Proustian was present in the original but isn't there in the translation. That's really all that's meant. That's not to deny that the translation isn't just a shadow of something else but a new creation, wherein the source language has invigorated and disturbed the target language in all kinds of interesting ways. I'm sure you must know Walter Benjamin's great essay on this subject.

Steve

Mao found the Korean war useful as well. He sacrificed large numbers of Chinese who belonged to units of the Red Army that he deemed unreliable. He sent them into battle in their droves relatively unarmed and forced North Korea to keep the war going until the sacrifice was made.

Albert

Moncrieff's translation might not "lose" anything, but it certainly adds a lot of nonsense. It makes Proust sound like a pompous French intellectual needing a good parody. I suspect that most of the "I tried Swanns Way and gave up" stories are due to Moncrieff's version. Reading the later heavily revised translation was a revelation.

I take your point about translations potentially being great literature in their own right, but that's the point: the work in question is the translation, not the original.

Albert

Moncrieff's translation might not "lose" anything, but it certainly adds a lot of nonsense. It makes Proust sound like a pompous French intellectual needing a good parody. I suspect that most of the "I tried Swanns Way and gave up" stories are due to Moncrieff's version. Reading the later heavily revised translation was a revelation.

I take your point about translations potentially being great literature in their own right, but that's the point: the work in question is the translation, not the original.

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