Back to Index

Re: Art of Translation 07.24.03

I said: "Translation is an almost impossible task, as I discovered when I directed the translation from Portuguese of The Life of Joaquim Nabuco. We translated it sticking close to the original. The result was exotic English. We should have paraphrased the original, but since it was a biography of a Brazilian statesman, we would have been accused of falsifying it".

John Heelan comments; "A wise choice. Paraphrasing would have moved the process from translation to interpretation. There is a big difference between the two, the former reflects the basic structure of the source text (by sticking to rules of grammar and choosing the appropriate words) with a minor amount of translator subjectivity in word choice. That subjectivity is amplified considerably in interpretation where the "interpreter" seeks to convey what the source text actually means, inevitably to the interpreter him/herself, thus the target text suffers all the problems highlighted by reader-response theorists".

Ronald Hilton - 07.24.03