First, let me greet you with one of my favourite stories:
"This is a story about four people: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when actually Nobody asked Anybody."
The art of translation
"Translation is the paradigm, the exemplar of all writing. It is translation that demonstrates most vividly the yearning for transformation that underlies every act involving speech." Harry Mathews
"Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes." Günter Grass
"The word 'translation' comes, etymologically, from the Latin for 'bearing across'. Having been borne across the world, we are translated men. It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation; I cling, obstinately to the notion that something can also be gained." Salman Rushdie
Among the plethora of aphorisms about the art of translation, the above quotations are my favourites, as they emphasise the following aspects:
⇒ The ardent desire of the translator to transform language.
⇒ The notion that while translation transforms everything linguistically the content remains unchanged.
⇒ The received view that something is always lost in translation whereas in actual fact translation can be an enrichment of the original.
The act of translation
The great scholar Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus, patron saint of translators, spent long years as a recluse in the desert. Similarly, many translators today live and work in isolation − in an environment that enables them to give all their attention to their texts. Constantly mediating between languages, countries and cultures, translators are driven by a genuine desire to get everything across accurately.