Friday, November 02, 2007

Some things I've been into this week:

1. The Translator's Turn by Douglas Robinson. I'm learning to be aware of my somatic responses while translating poems. This is a string of quotes that might show you what I've been milling around in my head:
"To speak a foreign language well you have to feel the words. Ideally, you should feel what the native speaker feels, but that ideal is impossible, since every native speaker will feel the words in a slightly different way. The idiosomatics of words are never universal. But then, pragmatically speaking, universality is not important. The main thing is to feel something" (16).

"Translation succeeds best not when the translator has obeyed every cognitive rule--performed a painstaking textual analysis and planned his or her restructuring out carefully in advance--but when he or she is most sensitive to the feel of both the [source language] and the [target language]" (17-18).

"...instead of controlling the body, explore it. Instead of hiding it away, dive down into it and bring what you find to conciousness. Explore the somatic complexity of real translation. Do not assume that the translator's 'natural' impulses will be wrong and that education or regulation is therefore in order; learn to feel what you do when you translate. The chances are that your body has a fairly good idea of what kind of translation is appropriate in given circumstances; by ignoring your body, by allowing translation theorists and teachers to direct your attention away from your own somatic sense of appropriatenss into the abstract realm of rules and structures, you are alienating yourself from the best tool you have" (34).

2. Lightness by Peter and the Wolf and The Stage Names by Okkervil River.

3. Not shaving. Two days ago was my last shave until St. Patty's Day. It's that time of year. Let's get hairy together.

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