The Scope of Translation

Matthew Reynolds

in The Poetry of Translation

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199605712
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731617 | DOI:
The Scope of Translation

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The verb ‘to translate’ has had many meanings: ‘to transplant’, ‘to move’ for example. Even as applied to texts—especially literary texts—its meaning varies: Derrida's idea that there used to be a ‘classical model’ of translation as a ‘ “transfer” of pure signifieds’ is not true of literary translation. It does not follow that ‘human communication equals translation’ (as George Steiner claimed). Rather, the word ‘translation’ names many distinguishable processes which are metaphorically connected to other things. The word ‘translation’ includes within itself the metaphor of ‘carrying across’; but poets can think of translation also as ‘interpretation’, ‘opening’, ‘giving way to passion’, ‘desire’, ‘taking a view’, ‘dying, ‘bringing to life’, ‘metamorphosis’. What poet‐translators do, and therefore what translation is, varies with the guiding metaphor: this book will explore many examples from across the history of English literature.

Keywords: translation; metaphor; Derrida; Steiner; poetry; meaning

Chapter.  4106 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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