Fish in your ear

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fish in ear

The vexed question of how ‘good’ a translation is, especially when your ignorance of the original forever precludes an answer:  David Bellos explores what translation can and may do, and at the same time takes side glances at other themes, including the role of culturally dominant languages, and the problems of the UN which has to provide instant translation of multiple languages into all the other languages (and the diagram to demonstrate this is one of the most impenetrable I have ever seen).

The book was full of good things. Perhaps my favourite section was Chapter 12: Custom Cuts, in which Bellos takes a highly formal Chinese poem and offers twelve completely different translations (character for character, by sense, rhyming, by pattern … ).

Guilt for being functionally monoglot upwelled.

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