Friday, May 10, 2019

The strains of translation

For it is in and through the process of translation that a language is made eminently self-aware. Translation constrains it to formal and diachronic introspection, to an explicit investment and enlargement of its historical, colloquial and metaphorical instruments. Simultaneously, translation puts a language under pressure of its limitation. It will solicit modes of perception and designation which that language had left underdeveloped, or had altogether discarded. An act of translation draws up a balance-sheet, as it were, for the target-language.—George Steiner, No Passion Spent, page 94

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