Discussion Questions — “Translations and World Literature: Love in the Necropolis” by David Damrosch — M.Paczkowski (10.24)

There are limits to the extent to which a translation should convey the full cultural specificity of the original, but how should the translator construct and understand these limits? Do these limits change for the piece or genre? Are there universal limits?

Much of the debate over replicating style, grammar, etc.. seems to be over context, yet how does one decide the scope and breadth of such context?

Are works without any transmission in history more aptly situated for translation?

It is to achieve a boundary by which you feel immediacy but also distance, both universality and temporal and cultural specificity. Yet, how is this boundary determined and then achieved?

Reading Blog — “Translation and World Literature: Love in the Necropolis” by David Damrosch — M.Paczkowski (10.24)

Damrosch employs some short lines from a love poem found in “The Contendings of Horus and Seth” to use as a testing-ground and demonstrate the challenges faced in translation. He enters into a discussion of how papyrus became vastly demanded and thus the poem that appeared at the end of the verso was slowly put out of out inspection/practice. Therefore, the poem arrives to us (the modern day reader) relatively unencumbered by any transmission history. Yet, many problems arise from issues of decipherment, of grammar, of vocabulary, and of cultural framing. Thus, in attending to these issues, it becomes clear the issues of choice in taking a piece from its original time and transporting it to our own world. Gardiner’s initial publication of the poem occupies a boundary of both historical and transcendent. It appears to acquire the aesthetic feel of the original time period in which it was written, employing paleographic techniques to assess the original calligraphic style, as one method. He presents the poem’s thematic elements of love as universal throughout all stages of history.

However, Gardiner runs into some very basic yet important issues such as who is supposed to be speaking in the poem. He demonstrates the multiplicity of choices in translating an ancient poem, deciding upon ideas of style and syntax. He acknowledges the issue with lack of punctuation in Egyptian writing, posing as an issue for the translation into modern English. “Like all translations – like all reading – Lichtheim’s version is informed by context. Her translation recalls other Egyptian poems in which a hesitating young lover is offered advice by a third party”. In doing so, she was able to fix the grammatical issues previously encountered. The issue becomes though that without comprehensive context the translator may take too many liberties: “Lichtheim may have created a dialogue where none would have existed to begin with”. Thus, the negative argument against context can be made as there were not many Egyptian pieces similar at the time thus constricting context. Much of the debate over replicating style, context, etc.. seems to be over context, yet how does one decide the scope and breadth of such context? The debate over the gender of the speaker seems to weigh heavily into the construction of the translation. In regards to ancient translation, it seems as though context provides clues but never many that are straightforward enough to be accurate. Thus the question becomes: “It appears that two different options work grammatically and make sense within the context of the surviving corpus of Egyptian poetry: the poem records either a man’s internal debate and resolution, or a woman’s decisive acting upon her love. Is there any way to decide between these renderings?” Damrosch answers the call by looking at the gender of the hieroglyphs which demonstrate a seated man. Yet, the signs are inconsistent with the

Thus the question becomes: “It appears that two different options work grammatically and make sense within the context of the surviving corpus of Egyptian poetry: the poem records either a man’s internal debate and resolution, or a woman’s decisive acting upon her love. Is there any way to decide between these renderings?” Damrosch answers the call by looking at the gender of the hieroglyphs which demonstrate a seated man. Yet, the signs are inconsistent with the mss being worn by both sexes. Damrosch makes claim that “our mistake, however, may lie in assuming that we need to make a definite choice. The scribe’s casual alternation of genders may reflect an openness in the poem’s original usage”. However, the harder problem is actually in terms of the mss as there is no equivalent garment. Thus, there are limits to the extent to which a translation should convey the full cultural specificity of the original, but how should the translator construct and understand these limits? Do these limits change for the piece or genre? Are there universal limits? 

The original context should not be made to overpower us, interfering with our engagement with the fictive world the poem creates for us to enter. There must be a proper balance of information given and information sought within the translated text: “loading us up with much information of this sort would make it hard to experience the poem itself, turning it instead into an object of study”. The translation cannot impose a wholesale modernization directly onto objects such as mss that cannot be directly translated into modern terms. “The Egyptian poems operates for us today on three registers: of likeness, of unlikeness, and of a shifting like-but-unlike relation to our own world”. There are variations in liberty that each translator seems to attain by taking various objectives into account. The poems taken together do create an important window to inspect that various social, economic, and political practices that occurred within the necropolis of Thebes. Thus, much of the extrapolation can be seen as an inspection into historical norms of various time periods. Translation can be an uncovering of history. “Such culture-specific associations tend to be weakened or erased outright in modernizing translations like Foster’s”. It is to achieve a boundary by which you feel their immediacy but also their distance, both their universality and their temporal and cultural specificity. Yet, how is this determined? 

Translations sill remain intimately linked to the culture of  origin. These Egyptian poems can offer us much more insight into ourselves and own cultures as long as we can keep their differences in play. Has been observed that translations age fairly rapidly, since cultures and literary values change. Translations often fail to evolve in tandem with the culture of the target language. Translations never genuinely reflect their original whether faithfully or not, but rather refract their original. Every translation is a negotiation between “source” and “target” cultures, as the results are evident by shifting literary values. All translations are bad by violating some certain literary norm. A translation can fail in two basic ways: either by outright error or by failing in a fundamental adequacy to the force and beauty of the original. Good translations stand up to close inspection. Many of the ancient authors would have been shocked to learn that their poems would outlast the age-old reign of Amun Re. Even though his reign is no longer, the poem continues to live on and is refracted through the shifting lens of translation.

Discussion Questions — “Retranslations: The Creation of Value” – Lawerence Venuti — M.Paczkowski (10.19)

Retranslation may not even consider or be aware of a previous translation of the foreign text. However, can such translation be considered a retranslation if the author has no knowledge of the prior translation?

The cultural formation mediates every stage of the translation process, so then is the translator’s choice in the process of translation always constrained?

The standard to judge the inadequacy of a translation is by assessing competing claims of interpretation, yet how can one absolutely justify one claim over another? Won’t a translation always be seen as adequate by at least one person (excluding the translator)?

Are there varying gradations of value in regards to different retranslations?

Reading Blog — “Retranslations: The Creation of Value” -Lawerence Venuti — M.Paczkowski (10.19)

Venuti begins by relaying that translation, like other cultural practices, is the creation of value. Yet, translation is unique through the value-creating process, taking the form of the inscribed interpretation of a foreign text. He says that “Translation is the inscription of the foreign text with intelligibilities and interests that are fundamentally domestic, even when the translator maintains a strict semantic equivalence with the foreign text and incorporates aspects of the foreign-language cultural context where the text first emerged”. Retranslations often have unique values as doubly domestic. Important, retranslation may not even consider or be aware of a previous translation of the foreign text. However, can such translation be considered a retranslation if the author has no knowledge of the prior translation? 

The retranslator’s strategies and techniques are of his or her choice in regards to the domestic constituencies of its further use. A typical case is the choice of the foreign text that has achieved canonical status in the translating culture i.e. the Bible. The text has sheer cultural authority. Retranslation will occur by competing claims of normative values in various other cultures. The choice of retranslation is through a different interpretation that was previously prescribed in the translation. Retranslation may claim to be more adequate to the foreign text. This claim should be viewed critically. The standard to judge the inadequacy of the translation is by assessing the competing claims of interpretation, yet how can one absolutely justify one translation over another? Readership is exceedingly important in considering retranslation, often designed to form particular identities and have particular institutional effects. Retranslations can affirm the strength and authority of the social institution by reaffirming the institutional interpretation of the text. Yet, retranslations can also challenge such institutions and their authority. Often, competing claims over retranslation by academic disciplines and commercial publishers. Venuti says that “A foreign text positioned on the margin of literary canons in the translating language may be retranslated to in a bid to achieve canonicity through the inscription of a different interpretation”. Retranslations of marginal texts are often motivated by a cultural-political agenda. Retranslations also help to advance translation studies by illuminating issues that bear directly on practice and research through linguistic operations.

One of the most important aspects is the translator’s agency, the underlying motivations and conditions that inform the work of translating in creating far-reaching social effects. Issues of agency and intertextuality often point to history.

Agency: any translating is towards an intended action. The translator’s motivates and actions are already collective, determined by linguistic usage, literary canons..etc. These can undermine the act of translation, the readership is able to reject the translation as unacceptable by differing ideas of interpretation. Even if the translation succeeds in regards to one audience, there will always be another audience who will find such unacceptable. In retranslations, the translator’s agency is distinguished by a significant increase in self-consciousness. Retranslations often highlight intentionality, by selecting and interpreting the foreign text from a different perspective of values. Retranslations may try to maintain, revise or subvert norms and the institution by which they are housed. Retranslations may also call to attention the overdetermining role of the institution in trying to have the text reinforce a specific ideology. Venuti sights the difficulties of commercial publishing in regards to such idea. ALSO, retranslation may just be a demonstration of the translator’s appreciation for the text.

Intertextuality – “the translator’s agency centers on the construction of intertextual relations, starting with the production of a text that relates to another, foreign text”. Forms of intertextuality that a translation might construct are always diverse. The most prevalent intertextual relationship in translation is analogical or metamorphic. Often considered lexicographical, in which the intertext consists of relations to dictionaries. However, this method can be misleading by suggesting a one-to-one correspondence exists between the foreign and the translated, when the translator has, in fact, a limited correspondence. An alternative textual approach is metonymic: a translation might focus on recreating specific parts of the foreign text which acquire significance and value in relation to literary trends and traditions in the translating culture. Since retranslations are to challenge a previous version of a foreign text, they are likely to construct a more dense and complex intertextuality so as to signify and call attention to their competing interpretation. However, does retranslation necessarily have to be more complex and dense in order to demonstrate competing claims of interpretation? Simplicity may allow for the reader to more readily view the difference. 

The more dense and complex the translation, the more the retranslation risks effacing the linguistic and cultural differences of the foreign text to serve a domestic cultural politics. Retranslations hold the ability to select and narrow the audience range. Yet since the audience may be general and knowledgeable of the previous version, they may perceive the difference signaled by the retranslation even when the fail to recognize the particular intertextual connection. Sometimes retranslation is accompanied by a form immediate form of intertextuality which more readily signals the explicit nature of the competing claims of interpretation. Paratexts are supplementary tools in better understanding the retranslation. “Paratexts might go some way toward restoring the linguistic and cultural differences that translation necessarily removes from the foreign text by rewriting it into another language with different cultural traditions”.

History: Translations are linked to their historical moment in reflecting the cultural formation by which they were produced. The cultural formation mediates every stage of the translation process, so then is the translator’s choice in process always constrained? Translation may be highly characterized by linguistic variations that are favored by translators at specific historical moments. Translators inscribe through discursive strategy, which often points to historically specific standards of accuracy which make clear that even definitions of  translation vary from point to point. Retranslation clearly and deliberately mark the passages of time in distinguishing themselves from differences in discursive strategy and interpretation. ALSO, retranslations are historiographical in efforts to signal and rationalize their differences from previous versions through various narratives genres. The most common is romance. Retranslations are often presented as significant improvements because they rely on the definitive edition of the foreign text which was not readily available. Retranslations also may be conservative. Also, the retranslator may offer critique, he or she may also leave doubts about further amplifying or clarifying the text in retranslation by returning to previous discursive strategies that proved to be inadequate.

Retranslations reflect changes in the values and institutions of the translating culture, but also produce ways in which such changes can inspire a revitalization of the text by allowing for new appreciation. Retranslation is best in allowing the retranslator to open up new avenues for understanding the text within various cultural backgrounds that maintain various values and interpretations. It is only through inscription that a translator can hope to make a linguistic and cultural difference that signals the foreign at home.

Discussion Questions — “The Translator’s Task” by Walter Benjamin — M.Paczkowski (10.17)

Benjamin says that “translations that are more than transmissions of a message are produced when a work, in its continuing life, has reached the age of its fame”, but when does one consider a work to have reached such a stage of fame? When can you consider a translation as a work of art in its own? Doesn’t a translation always owe some of its fame to the original?

The translator’s task is to find the intention toward the language into which the work is to be translated, on the basis of which an echo of the original is awakened in it. However, how does the translator decipher this intention and then produce such echo? How should the reader understand the intention of the translator?

The extent to which the translation can correspond to the essence is determined objectively by the translatability of the original. How can one objectively determine the level of translatability in the original? Isn’t this process of determination inherently subjective?

Reading Blog — “The Translator’s Task” by Walter Benjamin — M.Paczkowski (10.17)

When inspecting a work of art, it is important to take the audience into account. The concept of an ‘ideal’ audience is harmful to any discussion of art theory. Benjamin says that “Art itself also presupposes man’s corporeal and spiritual essence – but no work of art presupposes his attentiveness”. He then questions whether a translation is meant for readers who do not understand the original. Such question seems to underly much of the discourse about translation studies. He states that a bad translation is defined by the inexact transmission of inessential content. If the translation is intended for the reader, then how should the original be considered?

Translation is a form. He suggests that in order to fully grasp it we must return back to the original. A work’s translatability is ambiguous. Benjamin says “Accordingly, the translatability of linguistic structures would have to be considered even if they were untranslatable for human beings”. I am relatively unsure what he necessarily means from this quote. He suggests that translation is essential to certain works. “It is clear that a translation, no matter how good, cannot have any significance for the original”. Translation continues the life of the original work in many respects. It is the “afterlife” or the “survival” of the work. Benjamin says that “translations that are more than transmissions of a message are produced when a work, in its continuing life, has reached the age of its fame”, but when does one consider a work to have reached such a stage of fame? When can you consider a translation as a work of art in its own? Doesn’t a translation always owe some of its fame to the original? 

Translation has the ultimate aim to express the intimate relationship among languages. Yet, translation cannot reveal or produce this hidden relationship. Languages are not alien to one another. The relationship of texts and languages through translation is far deeper and complex than the superficial and indefinable similarity of two literary texts. Benjamin seems to believe that the original is changed through translation. The translator’s native language is also transformed over centuries. Kinship of languages manifests itself through the vague similarity of original and copy. “Whereas all the particular elements of different languages – words sentences, structures – are mutually exclusive, these languages compliment each other in their intentions”. By intentions, does Benjamin mean the transmission of overall meaning?

“To say this is, of course, to admit that all translation is merely a preliminary way of coming to terms with the foreignness of languages to each other”. The translation becomes more than merely just a message. One can extract and extrapolate all communicable content but its true linguistic element always stays out of reach from the translator’s reach. Is he speaking about the cultural remainder? Such fracture hinders the translation. The translator’s task is different and distinctive from that of the poet’s.

The translator’s task is to find the intention toward the language into which the work is to be translated, on the basis of which an echo of the original is awakened in it. However, how does the translator decipher such intention? The translation looks at the original from a frontal position in which it serves to construct a perception of echoing the original. Fidelity of rendering word for word in the translation does not render the same sense of the original. Words carry emotional connotations. Word for word translation completely thwarts the reproduction of sense. Translations must correspond to the original in the minutest sense but not necessarily resemble the original in the literal sense. True translation is transparent: it does not obscure the original, does not stand in its light, but rather allows pure language, as if strengthened by its own medium, to shin even more fully on the original. The word is the translation’s original element.

Beyond communicable content, there is something further that is untranslatable. What seeks to be developed and represented is that kernel of pure language. Translation alone possesses the mighty capacity to unbind it from meaning, to turn the symbolizing element into the symbolized itself, to recuperate pure language shaped by linguistic development. Freedom in translation acquires a new and higher justification. Freedom is to prove itself within its own language for the sake of pure language. The extent to which the translation can correspond to the essence is determined objectively by the translatability of the original. However, how can one objectively determine the level of translatability in the original? Or is it always a subjective assessment? 

Accordingly, the more distinctive the work, the more translatable it is. “For to some degree all great writings, but above all Holy Scripture, contain their virtual translation between the lines. The interlinear version of the Holy Scriptures is the prototype or ideal of all translation”.

Discussion Questions — “Translating from the Ancient” by Robert Alter & “From The Preface to Ovid’s Epistles” by John Dryden — M.Paczkowski (10.12)

Were the previous, ancient translations not truly accurate or just merely different within their contextual knowledge? Contemporary translators lack the richness of language than those versed in the King James Version, so do they lose authenticity for the sake of accuracy?

Dryden believes that poetry is unable to be translated. So, how would he account for translations of poetry that are considered to be accurate and viable by the public majority?

If one had to translate poetry, which style would Dryden prefer? He seems to believe that imitation is most closely utilized.

Reading Blog — “Translating from the Ancient” by Robert Alter & “From The Preface to Ovid’s Epistles” by John Dryden — M.Paczkowski (10.12)

“Translating from the Ancient”

Alter believes that the translations of the Bible from the second half of the twentieth century have been out of synch with recent translations from other ancient literatures.  He says that “The general procedure for translating the Greek and Latin classics has been to recast them according to the poetics and the stylistic norms of the translator’s own age” (Alter 172). However, such process of translating the classics into contemporaries has vastly changed since the beginning of WWII.

For the most part, the new translated text looks to serve as an imitation to that of the original, ancient text through. Alter believes that there are serious problems with the King James version. He believes that one of the major issues is simply that the language of English has simply evolved and changed over time. Furthermore, Biblical Hebrew is now more comprehensively understood than it previously was. Often, the new translation tone down the archaic voice previously found. Alter says that translators have thought to scratch the usage of the KJV and start from “scratch to create a truly modern and accurate version of the Bible” (173). Were the previous ancient translations then truly not as accurate or merely different within their contextual knowledge? Contemporary translators lack the richness of language than those versed in the King James Version, so do they lose authenticity for accuracy? 

Translators now labor to make information and content be clear and agreeable to the reader. He offers some principles for representing the Bible justifiably in English: cannot discount the precedent of the King James Bible Version (more often times than not inherently comes into considerations when translating; it is part of a cultural history in understanding the Bible); the KJV was right in that it maintained a literal translation (allowed for the reproduction in various literary patterns). Alter believes that it is partial “strategy” in adhering to some of the choices within the KJV.

Alter states that KJV is an “ineluctable precedent” and desires to state some principles for the translator:

  1. Make it Old – to adhere to the diction that appears more or less timeless, using various older words and formal devices. Must appear closely to that of the original in style and tone.
  2. Keep it Simple – the bible maintains relatively simple and easy to parse vocabulary and thus so should the translator. Although perfection is not attainable, a relative consistency in regards to simplicity is.
  3. Be Concrete – Abstractions are through concrete images, so that it is able to be relatable across cultures (using images such as body parts or the sky). Always avoid abstraction.
  4. Be Compact – the Bible is considered to be concise and thus presenting that the translator also be concise. Alter does understand how various languages have different measures and thus can sound more wordy or less, making it up to the translator to look for ways to reduce length or wordiness. This also pertains to the number of syllables. It is to favor compact language.
  5. Honor Hebrew Syntax – He finds it a fundamental sin in translating the Bible to “repackage every sentence to conform to the norms of modern English”. The prose of the Bible is glorious according to Alter and thus should be maintained in translation.

He concludes with saying that “This list could be extended, but what it implies is for the translator is a single two-sided strategy: scrupulously respect for the literary distinctiveness of the Hebrew, and dare to push English, with a due sense of regard for idiomatic aptness, beyond its conventional modern contours” (178).

“From The Preface to Ovid’s Epistles”

Dryden says that “all translation I suppose may be reduced to these three heads”

First, that of metaphase in which translation is word by word, line by line, or from one language into another. Second, paraphrase, which Dryden considers “translation with latitude” by which the author is kept within view but his words are not so strictly adhered to within the translation. Third, imitation by which the  translator assumes liberty in changing words and sense, only taking occasional hints from the original.

In regards to Metaphrase, it is a slippy slope as it is almost impossible to translate verbally and well at the same time. The verbal copyer experiences a plethora of difficulties at once, which become hard to free oneself from. He must consider the original and the translation within completeness in order to render a considerable translation, which poses as a problem in creating a valuable and viable translation. Dryden says that “either perspicuity or gracefulness will frequently be wanting”. A poet cannot be translated literally because his genius becomes too strong and almost too abstract for literal translation.

In regards to Imitation, it furthers the culture of the original within the text but also poses as a problem in that the translator is able to pick and chose what he or she deems worthy within the original to be incorporated in the translation. There is always something new produced through translation. Something further excellent may be invented, something that is unique. No longer called Author if neither thoughts nor words are derived from the original when “translating”. Both imitation and paraphrase are two extremes.

Dryden believes that poetry is unable to be translated. So, how would he account for translations of poetry that are considered to be accurate and viable by the majority of the public? 

He believes that no man is capable of translating poetry, besides the genius of that art. He believes to translate is to give a different dress to the content but never change the substance. The spirit of the author may be transferred yet not lost. There is no authority by which the lines or words must be confined to that of the original. Yet, the right maintains no such supersede the authority of the author? He believes that there are few versions which are tolerable.

 

Reading Blog — “An Open Letter on Translating” by Martin Luther & the Preface to King James Bible — M.Paczkowski (9.3)

“An Open Letter on Translating” by Martin Luther

The speaker within the address tells his audience that letter was obtained through a friend and that he serves to publish it in order to refute any claims against the works of Luther. It seems to be his Christen duty to publish this letter.

“So that this curse of the lord and the entire Church might be avoided, I had to publish this letter which came into my hands through a good friend. I could not withhold it, as there has been much discussion about the translating of the Old and New Testaments. It has been charged by the enemies of truth that the text has been modified and even falsified in many places, which has startled and shocked many simple Christians, even among the educated who do not know the Hebrew and Greek languages.”

The recipient of the letter further poses the same question when speaking of the letter. He serves to question the translation of the words of Paul, inquiring into the nature of the word “alone” as such text does not originally contain the word.

“I received your letter with the two questions, or inquiries., requesting my response. In the first place, you ask why in translating the words of Paul in the 3rd chapter…and you tell me that the papists are causing a great fuss because Paul’s text does not contain the word sola (alone), and that my addition to the words of God is not to be tolerated”

Luther responds that he would not have expected the papists to have been capable of such deductions, making a rather discriminatory claim against the intelligence of Roman Catholics. He says that they are stealing his language.

“It is evident, however, that they are learning to speak and write German from my German translation, and so they are stealing my language from me, a language they had little knowledge of before”

Does Luther consider the process of translation as a process of creating a language? Consequentially, is understanding a translation thus understanding a language? In believing the translation to be his own, does he claim authorship then? And if so, how does one consider the original text and its author in relation? 

He reprimands them for not offering thanks and instead using such language against him. He suggests that he has now taught his “enemies how to speak”.

He suggests that he has translated the New Testament into German as to the best of his abilities and thus it is still open to a better rendition. However, since it is his translation, it will remain his. He will not allow the papists to be his judge. He proposes that it is easier to be the reader than the translator. He does not require anyone to read his translation.

Is it fair to subjectively judge the translator on his abilities to translate? 

He believes that their critique of his translation now subjects him as the pupil and they as his master.

“It takes a great deal of patience to do good things in public… Criticizing everything and accomplishing nothing, that is the world’s nature”

He suggests that he would like to see the papists attempt to translate even one epistle of St. Paul’s without making use of Luther’s German or translation. It is clear that Luther holds his translation to the highest standard in believing that in order to even consider translating St. Paul that you would need to inspect his German and translation.

He then suggests that the original and the translation be placed side-by-side in order to be assessed. He boasts his abilities, saying his translation is most meritious.

“I will go even further with my boasting: I can expound the psalms and the prophets, and they cannot. I can translate and they cannot”

Luther addresses the first question in telling his reader that “Luther will have it so, and he says that he is a doctor above all the doctors of the pope”.

Does the translator assume dominance above both the reader and the original author? 

He suggests that he has always tried to translate in pure and clear German. The plowing and sowing of a field is a metaphor for the laborious work of translation. The work and effort is never shown. The product seems to come with ease by the observer. He knows that solum in not in the Greek or Latin text, yet it helps to convey a clear and recognizable sense within the text.

“We do not have to ask the literal Latin how we are to speak German, as these donkeys do” (He is very dismissive of the papists)

He relates himself to that of previous translators who have also been attacked. He believes it to be unjust and unfair for others to judge his translation, his own work, as though it is their own. However, in their address of his work, they are bringing attention, fame and consequentially honor to his work by publicizing it.

In translating, his methods, procedures and reasons were pure as he is of Christian faith.

“It requires a right, devout, honest, sincere, God-fearing, Christian, trained, educated, and experienced heart. So I hold that no false Christian or sectarian spirit can be a good translator”

Salvation is through the readings of his translation.

The Preface to King James Bible 

 

Discussion Questions — “An Open Letter on Translating” by Martin Luther & the Preface to King James Bible — M.Paczkowski (9.3)

Does Luther consider the process of translation as a process of creating a language? Consequentially, is understanding a translation thus understanding a language?

In believing the translation to be his own, does he claim authorship? And if so, how does one consider the original text and its author in relation?

Is it fair to subjectively judge the translator on his abilities to translate?

Does the translator assume superiority above both the reader and the original author?