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The conflicts of Classical translation

May 26, 2017

An excerpt from an OUPblog article by Robin Waterfield, translator of Oxford World's Classics: Euripides: Alcestis; Heracles; Children of Heracles; Cyclops, and Oxford World's Classics: Euripides: Ion, Orestes, Phoenician Women, Suppliant Women.

Image Credit: ‘Wonderland Walker 2’ by kevint3141, CC by –SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
"Any translation is bound to be only partially faithful to the original. Translation is, as the Latin root of the word shows, transference from one language to another. It is not, or should not be, slavish imitation. The Italians have a saying: “Traduttore traditore”–“the translator is a traitor” – and one has to accept from the start that this is bound to be the case. The trick is to betray the original text as little as possible, but that always involves compromise. A translator balances on a tightrope between several conflicting demands. Every sentence that a translator comes across presents all of these demands in various proportions, and he or she has to find the right balance ..."

Read the rest of this article on the OUPblog >

Image Credit: ‘Wonderland Walker 2’ by kevint3141, CC by –SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


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