This is the second time I’ve read this kind of thing in the TLS in recent weeks. This time it’ll be online for a few days more, in a review of Ted Hughes, Selected Translations, edited by Daniel Weissbort:
Daniel Weissbort, who edited this selection, tells the story of Hughes taking another poets translation of a work by the Hungarian Ferenc Juhasz and, without any knowledge of the original language and no Hungarian speaker to advise him, turning that version into a thrilling poem that drives the existing versions off the map. It is as if there were, as the race has often dreamed, an ur-language, some fundamental human speech predating the Tower of Babel, to which true poets have visionary access.
I must remember to work on this. Just imagine: you need no dictionaries, no trips abroad to brush up the language.
(The reviewer, Clive Wilmer, does very much qualify this statement in the rest of the review, to be fair)