Why Translation Matters argues for the cultural importance of translation and for a more encompassing and nuanced appreciation of the translator’s role.
As the acclaimed translator Edith Grossman writes in her introduction, “My intention is to stimulate a new consideration of an area of literature that is too often ignored, misunderstood, or misrepresented.”
Professional translation involves a number of crucial analytical skills brought together to harness not only accuracy but nuance and sensual meaning – a great translator evokes the parallel emotion/s hand in hand with meaning. Put simply a good translation goes often unnoticeable while a bad one litters the senses.
For Grossman, translation has a transcendent importance: “Translation not only plays its important traditional role as the means that allows us access to literature originally written in one of the countless languages we cannot read, but it also represents a concrete literary presence with the crucial capacity to ease and make more meaningful our relationships to those with whom we may not have had a connection before. Translation always helps us to know, to see from a different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and as individuals, we have a critical need for that kind of understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.”
Good translation allows your people to know.
Grossman’s belief in the crucial significance of the translator’s work, as well as her rare ability to explain the intellectual sphere of the translator, inspires and provokes the us to engage with translation in an entirely new way.
Today more than ever information requires the handling of dedicated professionals.
Machine v Man
An important distinction to make is that machine translation fails on a number of levels.
It fails to read, transcribe and digest material and meaning in proper form and syntax.
Real translation preserves many things across cultures and connects you with your target audience. It often preserves too decades of dedicated work and hard won reputation. At its best it spreads a priceless message fully across a mass global audience at a cost that is entirely bearable.
Our experience and expertise is entirely due to industry and individuals valuing the words they speak, write and imbue.
Edith Grossman is the acclaimed translator of Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, Mayra Montero, and many other distinguished Spanish-language writers. Her translation of Don Quixote is widely considered a masterpiece. The recipient of numerous prizes for her work, she was awarded the Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation by PEN in 2006, an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009, and the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Translation Prize in 2010. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in New York.
- Human vs. Machine: Clash of the Translation Titans (marketingprofs.com)