Monday, December 16, 2013

ON TRANSLATION AND OTHER THOUGHT I'd like to thank Jane Zhao for her input as to what was wrong with the original column. Her work is of a quality this author can only dream of. If this machine does what I want it to, we'll see the changes. Recently I finished a book by the noted Russian author Lemetov. At least I think it was Lemetov. In style and substance it could have been Bret Harte or Mark Twain. Which brings up the point, what constitutes a perfect translation? For years the gold standard of Greek classic translation for high schools and colleges was Richard Latimore. Of late the Fleagles translation of Homer has been seeing usage. For those of you who want to hear it, a boxed edition comes with either CDs or tapes. There are those who prefer the mystery writer Dorothy Sayers' translations. But again, what's closest? For all practical reasons the best translations are closest in space and time to the originals. One elegant, if unworkable, solution, would be to get Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine and translator not only fluent in the language as it was spoken then, but also in the folkways and mores that were then current. Perhaps the February 2014 "Mr. Peabody" movie will address this. But I doubt it.

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