Yesterday I was trying out Blogmatcher and came across another translator’s weblog.
Blogmatcher does two things: tells me how many other blogs link to mine, and suggests other blogs I might like on the basis of the links used by the blog whose URL I enter. That seems to me a very useful feature if I enter the URL of a blog other than mine. I don’t properly understand how it functions: sometimes I get no reaction or a reaction that the index has been updated (it updates every 4 hours), but I don’t want to update the index, I just want to show related weblogs on the basis of the updated index.The blog I found is by a literary translator, Gail Armstrong, from Canada but living in France: openbrackets.com. But not all the links she gives are for literary translators. She complains about the same article on Rilke translation as Adam Rice did.
It then appears that there is quite a discussion going on about this and another complete review review. I’ll quote the most-quoted piece for context:
bq. We at the complete review hate translation. We want to read works in their original versions, because a translation is inevitably an interpretation (as Wechsler acknowledges), and we want to be the ones doing the interpreting. Regrettably we must rely on translation, since we are by and large illiterate (knowing only a few of the world’s languages). We still prefer strictly literal translations, trying to mirror the original, and we’ll take a footnote explaining an unclear meaning over a more suitable but not literal translation of a word or sentiment any time.
This is taken out of context – it goes on to say that the book is useful. (The book is Robert Wechsler’s Performing Without a Stage, which has been greatly praised by two American translators on CompuServe.
And here are some of their remarks in connection with the Rilke book (William Gass on translations of the Duino Elegies):
bq. The experience is more than depressing: these renderings stand as proof positive of the impossibility of translation and the horrors that result when it is perpetrated. But no one hears our wails, our anguished howls, when we stand, teary-eyed, leafing through these obscene renditions.
Indeed, translators keep taking Rilke’s finely-wrought verses and wringing every last bit of art from them until only these dry, pale, English imitations are left — and readers apparently continue to be deceived into paying good money for these forgeries.
Oh, the horror !
Now to quote languagehat:
‘A war, or at least a brushfire, has broken out in a corner of Blogovia over the issue of translation.’
This produces a link to another commentator on translation, Polyglut, and The Enigmatic Mermaid, whose weblog I had already found by another route – a technical translator and conference interpreter based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has a large number of links, some of which may be further translation weblogs, but I haven’t investigated them.