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The Poetry of TranslationFrom Chaucer & Petrarch to Homer & Logue$
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Matthew Reynolds

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605712.001.0001

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Words for Translation

Words for Translation

(p.32) 5 Words for Translation
The Poetry of Translation

Matthew Reynolds

Oxford University Press

Literary translators have always used different words for what they are doing: a translation can be an ‘Englishing’, a ‘rendering’, a ‘traduction’, a ‘gloze’, a ‘crib’, a ‘version’ or a ‘conversion;’ to translate can be, not only to ‘paraphrase’ and ‘interpret’, but to ‘turn’, to ‘render’, or ‘reduce.’ These words signal the different moves that can be made in the process of reading‐making‐sense‐translating, the various things that ‘translation’ can be. I explore Browning's translation of Agamemnon, Nabokov's Eugene Onegin and Louis and Celia Zukofsky's Catullus to show what different meanings can be given to the word ‘literal’. I go on to argue that this variety of process and result has not been sufficiently recognized by translation theorists, even the subtlest such as Maria Tymoczko. In fact (I argue) it is impossible to arrive at ‘a theory’ of translation.

Keywords:   literal, translation theory, Maria Tymoczko, Robert Browning, Vladimir Nabokov, Louis and Celia Zukofsky

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