“TRANSLATIONS OF IMPORTANT POETRY AND LITERATURE”. Gopnik says that: “The rubber meets the road—-or la gomma tocca la strada, as we Italian speakers say—when it comes to translations of important poetry and literature generally.” Mary Jane will say on occasion: “traduttore, traditore” meaning “translator, traitor” (see here). If translation between languages were easy, there would not be so many debates among translators. I posted here on controversies about translating Tolstoy and here on controversies about translating Flaubert.
I posted here about a quotation from Kafka which is strong evidence for the argument that the language we speak shapes our lives. Kafka wrote: “Yesterday it occurred to me that I did not always love my mother as she deserved and as I could, only because the German language prevented it.”
And I posted here about how Annalisa in her retelling the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, chose not to translate the word “wodwo” into a word that a child would know, but to use one of the variants of the word that preserved the mystery of the original: “With his bright sword Gawain battled bears and boars and bulls, wolves and wild men and woodwos, giants and great snakes too.”