Anti-Climacus


"Thou shalt not extinguish thine anger, but shall master it, that thy conscience may not be blunted by adjustment to wrong causes."
-The Dutch Ten Commandments to Foil the Nazis

2.1.13

"I don't read Russian but someone wrote an article saying this translation was bad and I think it's bad, too."

Nabokov has a perfectly acceptable defense of translating a language you don't know very well--the language it's being translated into matters as much, and probably more*--and Borges points out that the test of a great work of literature is that it can survive a bad translation (and, incidentally, it's not like anyone reads Dostoevsky for the style, which is by reputation atrocious). I've spent enough time in the translation-style wars to recognize that there's no wrong answer, just different answers depending on one's intended usage. But that's slightly less fun than denouncing something otherwise popular because you want it denounced.**


* For example, the endless rounds of debate about Bible translation are not, in the main, arguments about how to understand the Hebrew or Greek, they're about how to best express them in English.

** I am all in favor of denouncing on the basis of expertise, either professional or assembled from long experience.

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