Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lost in Translation

So, in class we are reading Siddhartha. In chapter 1 (well of my translation) there is a beautiful passage with amazing verbs: "Dreams came to him and restless thoughts. They flowed into him from the water of the river, glittered from the night stars, melted out of the rays of the sum. Dreams came and a restless mind, rising in the smoke of the offerings, wafting from the verses of the Rigveda, seeping into him from the teachings of the old brahmins" (5). Beautiful no? flowed, glittered, melted, rising, wafting, seeping. Great verbs. Well, it was quite a shock when I went to show my students this passage and in the school's copy it was not even close the the same. The asthetic beauty was gone. But no fear, I read them the passage from my copy and we talked about translation differences and which passage we liked better and why. Yet, isn't it sad that such beautiful prose could be lost in translation? This reemphasized to me the importance of reading a good translation. Does anyone know a good translation of Anna Karenina?

No comments: