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?

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?

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.

Discussion Questions — “On Linguistic Aspects of Translation” — Roman Jakobson — M.Paczkowski (9.25)

Among his three ways of interpreting a verbal sign, when would Jakobson use which method and why?

How would Jakobson tackle a phrase or word that is devoid of meaning in the source language such as nonsense?

Jakobson presents that “it is more difficult to remain faithful to the original when we translate into a language provided with a certain grammatical category from a language devoid of such category”. He thus presents it as the choice of translator in picking a grammatical structure, yet how does the translator choose what is proper?

How would Jakobson account for certain cultural aspects in language such as dialect? They invariably contribute to the underlying tone and meaning of the text but not necessarily the primary meaning.

In his emphasis on translating the overall meaning (i.e. translate the entire message), does that ironically present issues towards the loss of meaning? I am thinking mainly in regards to certain cultural or contextual aspects that may be specifically present within a word or phrase but not necessarily integral to the overall meaning.


Discussion Question – After Babel – Steiner (9.6)

Wittgenstein says that the translation of texts between languages can be considered a mathematical problem. Yet in math there is always an answer and only one, so can it truly be considered a math problem?

This was previously posed by Steiner but it was a recurrent thought through my reading of his work: In what ways can or ought fidelity be achieved?

An argument against perfect equivalence becomes that since no human action or conduct can be perfect, how can we expect translation to be perfect? How do we assess to what degree of similarity can we achieve? How close to perfect can we get?

In translating the Bible and using such as a foundation for translation, do we begin to assume Christianity as the central religion of the world?

How can we view the translation of religious texts without accounting for cultural differences?

In being at the preliminary stages of understanding translation, where do we now go next? What are the next stages in understanding/uncovering translation?

Discussion Questions (9.1)

Here are some questions that I pondered while reading the most recent readings:

Differences in language is considered a gap, so how do you fill that gap? In addition, do you need to fill in the gap or can you assess it through your own personal interpretation as a reader? Sometimes I believe that the gap can offer more information than the actual words.

Since the Bible has been translated throughout languages and provides an equivalence can you necessarily take it as being the correct translation for each language? The bible very much maintains a heavy emphasis on interpretation, so translation obviously will pose many questions. Therefore, how can you account for these variations in interpretation? Does the Bible then become a different text?

Is translation really a form of treason or is it just a change in perspective about the same idea?