Monday, February 05, 2007
Monkey see, monkey do
I’ve always believed translators are like monkeys. When an author raises his or her hand, the monkey must mirror the action, also raising its hand. Translators must interpret the exact meaning of what the author wrote and respect the author’s literary style. If a translator makes a boring work interesting in his or her translation, then he or she has betrayed the author. If the author writes incoherently, the translator must stay true to the text. One must keep in mind that you should never translate a piece word by word, or you’ll lose the writing’s context.Monkeys are better paid, of course. But having spent the last four months raising my hand, I'll admit that Dao has a point.