Rachael Devecka Unit Two Post Two: Translation

Option 2: In a few sentences, comment on / raise a question about Thursday’s translation panel. This can be based on your !/? posts, or it can be something new. And it could be useful—though not required—to connect the translation panel to Plato or Borges (note for starters that both of these readings are translations).

The idea that struck me the most from Thursday’s translation panel was Professor Jankovic’s statement that: “two radical translators could construct incompatible translation manuals that fit all of the relevant evidence.” After hearing this, I began to question whether it would ever be possible to know whether the ideas conveyed by translated works were the ones the author originally intended. I think it is probably not possible to get an absolutely identical version, even if the translation and the original are mostly the same. Translators have the ultimate say in what ideas are passed along and what ideas are not. They are essentially interpreting a piece of writing and giving us their interpretation. So, I wonder, who should we give the most credit to? The original author or the translator––who essentially rewrites a piece? Is there a different value in reading translated texts and reading original works? I think that in a way it’s like reading Professor Quillen’s notes on Locke before reading Locke’s actual piece: we first ingest some level of interpretation that cannot help but guide our thinking on the piece, even if we return to the original later. This therefore begs the question: does translating have to be from one language to another? Perhaps each of us, reading Marx or Locke, is actually translating the essay for ourselves when we paraphrase, interpret, or restate in our own words the main ideas we take away.

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