1. Exquisite Tweets from @EmilyRCWilson

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    In the spirit of Oprah: here are 2 things I know about translation, from my experiences of years of doing it and thinking about it and reading about it.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Dr Emily Wilson

    1. It's interpretative. You can have a more or less responsible interpretation, as with writing history, or lit. crit, or journalism, or science; you can be sloppy, ill-informed, muddled, make mistakes, ignore things, etc. But there's not a single right answer.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Dr Emily Wilson

    2. Form matters; style matters; register matters. Translators can choose to ignore those things, e.g. to render verse in prose or stacked prose, or to make a fluent original clunky. These choices can be valid. But ideally, we shouldn't make them without thinking.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Dr Emily Wilson

    Sometimes I think these things are so blindingly obvious that they aren't even worth saying; sometimes not. A lot of people, maybe esp. classicists, don't engage with these issues ever in their professional lives.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Dr Emily Wilson

    E.g., recent multi-translator classical volume had a preface claiming that the translations were not interpretive but 'literal', sic, & the translations would be in blank verse. Neither was true; the translations are stacked prose, and they are, of course, interpretative.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Dr Emily Wilson

    What's striking to me is not that particular individuals have this blind spot, but that the blind spot seems to be endemic in the field of classics, and to some extent also in our culture. Lots of people don't think nearly enough about what translations are, or about form.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Dr Emily Wilson

    #3 on this 2-item list is that doing it well is extremely difficult, and doing it perfectly, impossible.Translations are always very different from their source, no matter how responsible. Difference means both loss and gain. I'll be your mirror. I'm you. I'm not you.

    Reply Retweet Like

    EmilyRCWilson

    Dr Emily Wilson