Insight on translation

“…one of the points Bellos* makes is that the context is very important in translating. For example, to translate Molière (or Astérix, come to that) into English without realising that the context is humour could result in accurate translating that completely misses the point. In fact Anthea Bell’s translation of Astérix into English is a great example of translating, though it is far from literal. Dogmatix for Idéfix is simply inspired, adding an English pun to the name that describes his character; but consider how difficult it must be to translate all the other names, let alone all the jokes.

“And I think that is what ICEL missed in their translation of the Missal. It simply did not reflect what the Latin was trying to do, at the level either of the meaning or of the effect it intended to convey. It reads to me as though it was done by people who did not share the theology, ecclesiology and so forth that informed the Latin original, nor understand the hieratic nature of language used in formal worship.” — Reflecting on translating, by Ben Trovato

Translating dynamic equivalencedynamic equivalence only works if the translator is trying to accomplish the same thing as the Author.

*David Bellos, author of Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, another item for my reading list.

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