Translating within and between Languages

Matthew Reynolds

in The Poetry of Translation

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199605712
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731617 | DOI:
Translating within and between Languages

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The imaginative work of translating a distant language such as Burmese differs from that of translating a close language such as French. Equally, translation can happen within what we think of as a single language because each language is internally divided into dialects and registers. So translation cannot be defined as a single operation that happens ‘between languages’: Umberto Eco is wrong to draw a strong distinction between ‘translation’ and ‘rewording’. Translation also affects how you define the linguistic material you are faced with: people can realize they need to translate what had at first not felt like a different language; I give examples from Oliver Twist. When this happens, a fissure opens up: this mattered to Dryden when he ‘translated’ Chaucer into the English of his own time; and to William Barnes when he ‘tranlsated’ his Dorset poems into ‘the dialect which is chosen as national speech’.

Keywords: language; dialect; register; translate; Eco; Dickens; Dryden; Chaucer; Barnes

Chapter.  2181 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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