Best 114 of Translation quotes - MyQuotes
To be sure, all translation is interpretation. ... Be that as it may, functional-equivalence translations, which presume that ambiguity, multivalence, and contradiction are by definition not part of the Bible, take far more creative and interpretive license than formal ones in eradicating those features. In so doing, they too often try to make the Bible into something it's not.
...literary translators are the interpreters of human values - and the true peacemakers.
Dreams, always dreams! and the more ambitious and delicate is the soul, the more its dreams bear it away from possibility. Each man carries in himself his dose of natural opium, incessantly secreted and renewed. From birth to death, how many hours can we count that are filled by positive enjoyment, by successful and decisive action? Shall we ever live, shall we ever pass into this picture which my soul has painted, this picture which resembles you? These treasures, this furniture, this luxury, this order, these perfumes, these miraculous flowers, they are you. Still you, these mighty rivers and these calm canals! These enormous ships that ride upon them, freighted with wealth, whence rise the monotonous songs of their handling: these are my thoughts that sleep or that roll upon your breast. You lead them softly towards that sea which is the Infinite; ever reflecting the depths of heaven in the limpidity of your fair soul; and when, tired by the ocean's swell and gorged with the treasures of the East, they return to their port of departure, these are still my thoughts enriched which return from the Infinite - towards you.
At this moment, in this place, the shifting action potential in my neurons cascade into certain arrangements, patterns, thoughts; they flow down my spine, branch into my arms, my fingers, until muscles twitch and thought is translated into motion; mechanical levers are pressed; electrons are rearranged; marks are made on paper. At another time, in another place, light strikes the marks, reflects into a pair of high-precision optical instruments sculpted by nature after billions of years of random mutations; upside-down images are formed against two screens made up of millions of light-sensitive cells, which translate light into electrical pulses that go up the optic nerves, cross the chiasm, down the optic tracts, and into the visual cortex, where the pulses are reassembled into letters, punctuation marks, words, sentences, vehicles, tenors, thoughts. The entire system seems fragile, preposterous, science fictional.
In your opinion, where do private and political life, personal history and History meet? You know the answer, Maya. You say it unhesitatingly - in art and literature.
That you should not be here when something we've both wanted happens is no new thing for me. Today too, as always, you're not here.
When a people has no translations and is unable to promote its culture, it does not exist.
No I do not like blaming. Because for me it's enough if someone is other than bad—not too much out of hand, conscious at least of the justice that helps the city, a healthy man. No I shall not lay blame. Because fools are a species that never ends. All things, you know, are beautiful with which ugly things are not mixed.
We find “Nirvana” rendered by “annihilation” (no one stops to ask of what?), though the word means “despiration”, as Meister Eckhart uses the term. I accuse the majority of Christian writers of a certain irresponsibility, or even levity, in their references to other religions. I should never dream of making use of a Gospel text without referring to the Greek, and considering also the earlier history of the Greek words employed, and I demand as much of Christian writers. To THE NEW ENGLISH WEEKLY, LONDON - January 8, 1946
Why? Because true translation is not a binary affair between two languages but a triangular affair. The third point of the triangle being what lay behind the words of the original text before it was written. True translation demands a return to the pre-verbal
In a French accent developed through a lifetime of using English I said, 'Hello sir, I would like to row the English Channel in a bath please.' What actually arrived in the ear of the French Navy man was, 'Hello sire, I would like to fight a condom across a bath if you please.
Sometimes words are just a crude translation of love.
We read and reread the words of the original text in order to penetrate through them, to reach, to touch the vision or experience which prompted them. We then gather up what we have found there and take this quivering almost wordless 'thing' and place it behind the language into which it needs to be translated. And now the principal task is to persuade the host language to take in and welcome the 'thing' which is waiting to be articulated.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Everything has been planned. The ascent will be completed in two days’ time. He will climb another one hundred floors today. Another hundred the next day. He does not want to take the lift. The rush of life causes people to drown in the temporary. He wishes to dip into eternity before he leaves.
I've done a Russian movie," Claire said. "Thank God they're still stuck in realism, Zola-crazy. Subtitling their films is like captioning a child's picture book.
Quando se fica velha a memória não é muito boa. - Ela suspirou. - Não é tão ruim esquecer coisas pequenas, é quando não se sabe o que entristece mais, se o outono, porque faz a gente se lembrar de si mesma, ou a primavera, porque se aproveita menos dela do que antes. A coisa mais triste na velhice é talvez não ser mais capaz de tolices. Tradução de Clarice Lispector
Toda traducción tiene siempre algo de traición.
Many people just think they understand English, remember.
In literary translations, it is this very articulation of expressions that matters the most to bring home to the readers the full essence of the original text in question.
Du skal bare huske at det ikke er en perfekt krig i en perfekt verden.
We are told that in translation there is no such thing as equivalence. Many times the translator reaches a fork in the translating road where they must make a choice in the interpretation of a word. And each time they make one of these choices, they are taken further from the truth. But what we aren’t told is that this isn’t a shortcoming of translation; it’s a shortcoming of language itself. As soon as we try to put reality into words, we limit it. Words are not reality, they are the cause of reality, and thus reality is always more. Writers aren't alchemists who transmute words into the aurous essence of the human experience. No, they are glassmakers. They create a work of art that enables us to see inside to help us understand. And if they are really good, we can see our own reflections staring back at us.
For me, therapy is partly translation therapy, the talking cure a second-language cure. My going to a shrink is, among other things, a rite of initiation: initiation into the language of the subculture within which I happen to live, into a way of explaining myself to myself. But gradually, it becomes a project of translating backward. The way to jump over my Great Divine is to crawl backward over it in English. It's only when I retell my whole story, back to the beginning, and from the beginning onward, in one language, that I can reconcile the voices within me with each other; it is only then that the person who judges the voices and tells the stories begins to emerge.
The boundaries between us had been breached for good, we gave a new meaning t the notion that man and wife were one flesh. You could track back this kind of alchemy in books: '...intimately to mix and melt and to be melted together with his beloved, so that one should be made out of two.' This is Shelley translating Plato, who was putting words into the mouth of Aristophanes, who's the only defender of heterosexual sex in the Symposium, although he makes it sound perverse.
Hvis I ville tillade os at sige den reene Sandhed, da ansee I os heller som eders egne end som eders Religions Fiender; thi hvis I elskede eders Religion, efterlevede I dens Lærdom. Til Slutning maa vi erindre dette, at, hvis Efterkommere holde for at Europa udi vor Tid har været polered, da vil man citere eder for at vise, at vi have levet i Barbariske Tider, og den Idée som man giør sig af eders Opførsel, vil sværte den Alder, som vi leveudi.
Overly literal translations, far from being faithful, actually distort meaning by obscuring sense.
Hij was een mens, en hij was vlees en botten en geest en ziel. Zij had van hem gehouden. De Ritselaer had hem gekocht, dokter Tulp had hem gevorderd voor de wetenschap en ik had hem willen hebben voor de kunst. Allemaal wilden we zijn vlees. Allemaal wilden we iets met het lichaam van deze man. Maar hij behoorde toe aan geen van ons. Hij was alleen maar Aris, de dief.
Sometimes I long to forget… It is painful to be conscious of two worlds.
One word absent from a sentence, or misinterpreted incorrectly, can change the entire meaning of a sentence. One word can change the meaning of everything. Before you believe anything about God or anybody, ask yourself how well do you trust the transmitter, translator or interpreter. And if you have never met them, then how do you know if the knowledge you acquired is even right? One hundred and twenty-five years following every major event in history, all remaining witnesses will have died. How well do you trust the man who has stored his version of a story? And how can you put that much faith into someone you don't know?
Shall I apologize translation? Why but some hold (as for their free-hold) that such conversion is the subversion of Universities. God holde with them, and withholde them from impeach or empair. It were an ill turne, the turning of Bookes should be the overturning of Libraries.
Not only were people to be liberated from socio-political and economic oppression, but from theological oppression as well.
The evening sky is gold and vast. I’m soothed by April’s cool caress. You’re late. Too many years have passed, - I’m glad to see you, nonetheless. Come closer, sit here by my side, Be gentle with me, treat me kind: This old blue notebook – look inside – I wrote these poems as a child. Forgive me that I felt forsaken, That grief and angst was all I knew. Forgive me that I kept mistaking Too many other men for you.
(...) a língua é, para o espírito de uma nação, o que o estilo é para o espírito de um indivíduo. Mas o domínio perfeito de uma língua só ocorre quando uma pessoa é capaz de traduzir não os livros, por exemplo, mas a si própria; desse modo, sem sofrer nenhuma perda de sua individualidade, ela consegue se comunicar imediatamente na outra língua, agradando tanto aos estrangeiros quanto aos falantes nativos.
An ideal translation should, I believe, reproduce the effect of the original, but I have found that the best any translator can even hope for is to reproduce the effect that the originals have had on him. (Preface, vi)
Jorge Luis Borges
Si vous traduisez Shakespeare, il faut traduire aussi librement que Shakespeare écrivait.
Our words are often only vague, inadequate descriptions of our thoughts. Something gets lost in translation every time we try to express our thoughts in words. And when the other person hears our words, something gets lost in translation again, because words mean different things to different people. "A long time" may mean 10 hours to one person, but 10 days to another. So when a thought is formed in my brain, and my mouth expresses it in words, and your ears hear it, and your brain processes it, your brain and my brain never truly see exactly the same thing. Communication is always just an approximation.
Here are the essentials of a happy life, my dear friend: money not worked for, but inherited; some land not unproductive; a hearth fire always going; law suits never; the toga rarely worn; a calm mind; a gentleman’s strong and healthy body; circumspect candor, friends who are your equals; relaxed dinner parties, a simple table, nights not drunken, but free from anxieties; a marriage bed not prudish, and yet modest; plenty of sleep to make the dark hours short. Wish to be what you are, and prefer nothing more. Don’t fear your last day, or hope for it either. Translated from original text: Vitam quae faciant beatiorem, Iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt: Res non parta labore, sed relicta; Non ingratus ager, focus perennis; Lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta; Vires ingenuae, salubre corpus; Prudens simplicitas, pares amici; Convictus facilis, sine arte mensa; Nox non ebria, sed soluta curis; Non tristis torus, et tamen pudicus; Somnus, qui faciat breves tenebras: Quod sis, esse velis nihilque malis; Summum nec metuas diem nec optes.
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
But then it came time for me to make my journey—into America. [... N]o coincidence that my first novel is called Americana. That became my subject, the subject that shaped my work. When I get a French translation of one of my books that says 'translated from the American', I think, 'Yes, that's exactly right.
They will try to ascribe a purpose to my death, as though it were a punishment, but don’t you do so, in order that I continue to live in all the shadows of your longing. I will always be in your sleep and your wakefulness. I will be with you praying, propitiating and yearning for you, in sadness, in sorrow, in dismay and in the most profound happiness.
Al igual que todos nosotros, Klima también consideraba real únicamente aquello que llega a nuestra vida desde dentro, gradual, orgánicamente, mientras que a lo que llega desde fuera, inesperada y casualmente, lo veía como si fuera una invasión de lo irreal. Por desgracia no hay nada más real que esta irrealidad.
Turn off the light! Who? Not me, but you!
The number of books translated in the Muslim world is five times less than of those translated in Greece. In fact, in the past one thousand years, since the reign of al-Ma’mun, the Arab community has translated only 10,000 books, or roughly the number that Spain translates in one year.
Jorge Luis Borges
It was under English trees that I meditated on that lost labyrinth: I pictured it perfect and inviolate on the secret summit of a mountain; I pictured its outlines blurred by rice paddies, or underwater; I pictured it as infinite—a labyrinth not of octagonal pavillions and paths that turn back upon themselves, but of rivers and provinces and kingdoms....I imagined a labyrinth of labyrinths, a maze of mazes, a twisting, turning, ever-widening labyrinth that contained both past and future and somehow implied the stars. Absorbed in those illusory imaginings, I forgot that I was a pursued man; I felt myself, for an indefinite while, the abstract perceiver of the world. The vague, living countryside, the moon, the remains of the day did their work in me; so did the gently downward road, which forestalled all possibility of weariness. The evening was near, yet infinite.
This may sound like a terrible generalization but the Japanese language has taught me that a person's understanding of the world need not be so well articulated -- so rationally articulated -- the way it tends to be in Western languages. The Japanese language has the full potential to be logical and analytical, but it seems to me that it isn't its real business to be that way. At least, not the Japanese language we still use today. You can mix the present and the past tense. You don't have to specify whether something is singular or plural. You aren't always looking for a cogent progression of sentences; conjunctions such as "but," "and," and "so" are hence not all that important. Many Japanese people used to criticize their language for inhibiting rational thought. It was quite liberating to me when I realized that we can understand the world in different ways depending on the language we use. There isn't a right way or a wrong way.
On Translating Eugene Onegin 1 What is translation? On a platter A poet's pale and glaring head, A parrot's screech, a monkey's chatter, And profanation of the dead. The parasites you were so hard on Are pardoned if I have your pardon, O, Pushkin, for my stratagem: I traveled down your secret stem, And reached the root, and fed upon it; Then, in a language newly learned, I grew another stalk and turned Your stanza patterned on a sonnet, Into my honest roadside prose-- All thorn, but cousin to your rose. 2 Reflected words can only shiver Like elongated lights that twist In the black mirror of a river Between the city and the mist. Elusive Pushkin! Persevering, I still pick up Tatiana's earring, Still travel with your sullen rake. I find another man's mistake, I analyze alliterations That grace your feasts and haunt the great Fourth stanza of your Canto Eight. This is my task--a poet's patience And scholastic passion blent: Dove-droppings on your monument.
You will tell me that there always exists a chasm between the world depicted in novels and films and the world that people actually live in. It is the chasm between the world mediated by art and the world unmediated by art, formless and drab. You are absolutely right. The gap that my mother felt was not necessarily any deeper than the gap felt by a European girl who loved books and films. Yet there is one critical difference. For in my mother's case, the chasm between the world of art and real life also symbolized something more: the asymmetrical relationship I mentioned earlier—the asymmetrical relationship between those who live only in a universal temporality and those who live in both a universal and a particular one. To make this discussion a little more concrete, let me introduce a character named Francoise. Francoise is a young Parisienne living before World War II. Like my mother, she loves reading books and watching films. Also like my mother, she lives in a small apartment with her mother, who is old, shabby looking, and illiterate. One day Francoise, full of artistic aspirations, writes an autobiographical novel. It is the tale of her life torn between the world of art and the world of reality. (Not an original tale, I must say.) The novel is well received in France. Several hundred Japanese living in Japan read this novel in French, and one of them decides to translate it into Japanese. My mother reads the novel. She identifies with the heroine and says to herself, "This girl is just like me!" Moved, my mother, also full of artistic aspirations, writes her own autobiography. That novel is well received in Japan but is not translated into French—or any other European language, for that matter. The number of Europeans who read Japanese is just too small. Therefore, only Japanese readers can share the plight of my mother's life. For other readers in the world, it's as if her novel never existed. It's as if she herself never existed. Even if my mother had written her novel first, Francoise would never have read it and been moved by it.
Translator's Note: When the violin repeats what the piano has just played, it cannot make the same sounds and it can only approximate the same chords. It can, however, make recognizably the same "music", the same air. But it can do so only when it is as faithful to the self-logic of the violin as it is to the self-logic of the piano.
Deep in her soul, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like a sailor in distress, she would gaze out over the solitude of her life with desperate eyes, seeking some white sail in the mists of the far-off horizon. She did not know what this chance event would be, what wind would drive it to her, what shore it would carry her to, whether it was a longboat or a three-decked vessel, loaded with anguish or filled with happiness up to the portholes. But each morning, when she awoke, she hoped it would arrive that day, and she would listen to every sound, spring to her feet, feel surprised that it had not come; then at sunset, always more sorrowful, she would wish the next day were already there.
Since language produces meaning within an enclosed system, there is always a built-in untranslatability, which national languages began to deliberately pursue. The process added to the creation of an untranslatable "reality" that can be expresses only in a particular language. It also added to the discovery of untranslatable "truths.