Monday, October 27, 2008


As simple analogies go, I still like this one, from an English translation of the prologue to a recent Icelandic poetry translation anthology edited by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl (here >>):

Just as you can not translate anything between two languages, nothing is untranslatable once you realize that nothing is translatable. A translation of literary work is never the same work, but a new work related to the former – the German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher (1763-1834) said that an artist could view a translation of his works by imagining what his child would look like, had his wife had it with another man (the gender roles of this example are from Schleiermacher – they can be reversed without getting sand in one’s vagina).

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