“Translation has always been a process of limitless nearing to the original style, a slight divergence from this means that it touches on beautification or watering down, or even uglifying; this is committed by almost everything. If it’s like so, then making it better, beautifying it, is better than watering down, or the uglification of it, isn’t it?”—
“Translating Calvino is an aural exercise as well as a verbal one. It is not a process of turning this Italian noun into that English one, but rather of pursuing a cadence, a rhythm—sometimes regular, sometimes wilfully jagged—and trying to catch it, while, like a Wagner villain, it may squirm and change shape in your hands”—
If you want what visible reality can give, you’re an employee. If you want the unseen world, you’re not living your truth. Both wishes are foolish, but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting that what you really want is love’s confusing joy.
63 Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise! One thing at least is certain—This Life flies: One thing is certain and the rest is lies; The Flower that once is blown for ever dies. 64 Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through Not one returns to tell us of the Road, Which to discover we must travel too. 65 The Revelations of Devout and Learn’d Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn’d, Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep They told their fellows, and to Sleep return’d. 66 I sent my Soul through the Invisible, Some letter of that After-life to spell: And by and by my Soul return’d to me, And answer’d “I Myself am Heav’n and Hell :” 67 Heav’n but the Vision of fulfill’d Desire, And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire, Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves, So late emerg’d from, shall so soon expire.
“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.”—
After a recommendation from the marvelous @alexanderchee I just read a marvelous graphic novel translated from the French. You can read the whole thing here (righthand corner).
From the website:
The 32 pages of “Émile” were drawn in 1999, at the time of the publication of the third volume of his ’Journal’ (of which he makes a passing mention in the story). Events were drawn as they occurred and consequently there is much less detachment than in the volumes of his ’Journal’ ; but the lucidity of the author remains intact and just as impressive as ever.
The purity of the art and page composition of Fabrice Neaud is totally realized in this story. The solitude in these pages is nearly total ; there is little human warmth, even in his encounters with others : a great emptiness echoes throughout. The author is doubtful of the virtues of “sublimation” that are generally attributed to works of art. He draws the trees and familiar paths of his everyday strolls ; scenery roughed up by the famous storm of 1999, which occurs in the course of the account.
Since the third volume of his ’Journal’, we’ve become acquainted with Fabrice Neaud’s talent for constructing books of an impressive structure that give meaning to the slightest moments of a life. By its concision, this account finds another astonishing path for making the voice of its author heard. So unique and moving, “Émile” is a truly beautiful achievement.
Translation by Travis Lealand, with the help of the collaborative comics translation website comixinflux. Thanks to them !
It is late last night the dog was speaking of you; the snipe was speaking of you in her deep marsh. It is you are the lonely bird through the woods; and that you may be without a mate until you find me.
You promised me, and you said a lie to me, that you would be before me where the sheep are flocked; I gave a whistle and three hundred cries to you, and I found nothing there but a bleating lamb.
You promised me a thing that was hard for you, a ship of gold under a silver mast; twelve towns with a market in all of them, and a fine white court by the side of the sea.
You promised me a thing that is not possible, that you would give me gloves of the skin of a fish; that you would give me shoes of the skin of a bird; and a suit of the dearest silk in Ireland.
When I go by myself to the Well of Loneliness, I sit down and I go through my trouble; when I see the world and do not see my boy, he that has an amber shade in his hair.
It was on that Sunday I gave my love to you; the Sunday that is last before Easter Sunday. And myself on my knees reading the Passion; and my two eyes giving love to you for ever.
My mother said to me not to be talking with you today, or tomorrow, or on the Sunday; it was a bad time she took for telling me that; it was shutting the door after the house was robbed.
My heart is as black as the blackness of the sloe, or as the black coal that is on the smith’s forge; or as the sole of a shoe left in white halls; it was you that put that darkness over my life.
You have taken the east from me; you have taken the west from me; you have taken what is before me and what is behind me; you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me; and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!
(an Irish ballad from the eighth century, translated by Lady Augusta Gregory)