Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Translator is a Traitor

(Still can't upload photos, so here are links.)

Lately I've been wanting to translate Heine. Not the poems that anyone is interested in, which is to say, that someone might like to publish. Just ones that suggest translating to me, like "Ich rief den Teufel, und er kam". I used to have a knack for finding the convincing equivalent phrase, but I am finding that I have less room to maneuver. Shoot, I used to try to match roots so that the subliminal imagery would carry over.

This is the image that comes to me:  say that a poem is a footbridge across a chasm carved by a river. When you walk out to the center, you can look upstream and downstream and enjoy the views. A translation is another footbridge, set close to the first one. You'll start out and end up close to where the first bridge does. Your views up- and downstream will be similar, but they won't be identical, and one of them will include the other bridge.

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