Say what we may of the inadequacy of translation, yet the work is and will always be one of the weightiest and worthiest undertakings in the general concerns of the world.
Translation is an impossible necessity.
Translators live off the differences between languages, all the while working toward eliminating them.
Translation is the paradigm, the exemplar of all writing. It is translation that demonstrates most vividly the yearning for transformation that underlies every act involving speech, that supremely human gift.
Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.
The translator is not a necessary evil that interposes himself between the text and the reader’s ignorance. He is another voice that says, with whatever freedom the text permits, what the voice of the author has expressed. He installs himself within the word in order to say the word.
Prayer is translation. A man translates himself into a child asking for all there is in a language he has barely mastered.
God grant me
The serenity to accept
The things I cannot translate,
To translate the things I can,
And wisdom always
To tell the difference.
To be a successful translator you have to be either a saint or a fool. Ideally…a saintly fool.
A translator is a professional schizophrenic, continuously wandering on the edge, risking his sanity in the crashing zone of two languages and two cultures. He is operating in an elevated state of mind, as if in trance––indeed, it is a creative trance, a state of bipolarity, of being at two places simultaneously, moving parallel in two worlds. In this sense, he is an exotic stranger, an itinerant of the ever-growing literary world. Invisibly, condemned to solitude, he enters this atypical state of awareness, becomes a trance-later.