Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Task of the Translator

I just read Walter Benjamin's essay, "The Task of the Translator: An Introduction to the Translation of Baudelaire's Tableaux Parisiens," and I thought I would give some choice morsels for your eyes' delight:

No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.

One might...speak of an unforgettable life or moment even if all men had forgotten it. If the nature of such a life or moment required that it be unforgotten, taht predicate would not imply a falsehood but merely a claim not fulfilled by men, and probably also a reference to a realm in which it is fulfilled: God's remembrance.

Translation...ultimately serves the purpose of expressing the central reciprocal relationship between languages. It cannot possibly reveal or establish this hidden relationship itself; but it can represent it by realizing it in embryonic form or intensive form.

No comments: