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Švejk [shvāke] Svejk

This blog is dedicated to the title character of The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War and his creator, Jaroslav Hašek.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

A FEW OBSERVATIONS ON TRANSLATING

"The basic error of the translator is that he preserves the state in which his own language happens to be instead of allowing his language to be powerfully affected by the foreign tongue. Particularly when translating from a language very remote from his own he must go back to the primal elements of language itself and penetrate to the point where work, image, and tone converge."
- Rudolf Pannwitz in Die Krisis der europaischen Kultur (quoted by W. Benjamin in The Task of the Translator)

"Translation is like a woman, ... If it is beautiful, it is not faithful. If it is faithful, it is most certainly not beautiful."
- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

"The literary market in English-speaking countries, particularly in America, is without a doubt among the least hospitable to foreign works. Given the enormous potential readership, there are, in contrast to the continuous flood of translations into German, Italian, or Czech, comparatively few literary works translated into English — so much so that we find almost no full-time translators of belles lettres in the United States, Canada or, for that matter, England."
- F.M. Galan, Švejk in English,in Jaroslav Hašek 1883-1983, Proceedings of the International Hašek Symposion Bamberg, June 25-28, 1983

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Blogger Jomar Hønsi said...

On Galans comment: I think it is symptomatic what you wrote in the foreword to Book 2; that readers had objected to you including foreign language quotes in Švejk. It seems that English-speakers get fits of paranoia whenever they read anything in a foreign language; this was clearly my impression during the years I spent in the UK. NB! Do you have any electronic documents from Bamberg; I've have looked for it to no avail so far.

3:55 PM  

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