Monday, February 17, 2014

“Language is not a diamond”

In introducing a translation of a work by Jose Manuel Prieto, Esther Allen says this:

Language … is not a diamond, its super-hard molecules permanently ordered in a fixed pattern … it is, rather, … inevitably illusory and impermanent, dissolving into an ungraspably fine powder when any determined will is brought to bear on it.

It’s fun riposte to those who believe there is only one way to say anything. And that goes for translation, too; there is more than one way to bring over meaning from one language to another.

source: Two Lines, vol. 16: Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed edited by Margaret Full Costa & Marilyn Hacker. 2009. The Center for the Art of Translation

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