Famous quotes about translation

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Quotes about Translation

  • "Translation is one of the few human activities in which the impossible occurs by principle.” Mariano Antolín Rato
  • “Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature.” José Saramago
  • "Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.” Paul Auster
  • “Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence.” George Steiner
  • "Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes." Grass Günter
  • "All meanings, we know, depend on the key of interpretation" George Eliot
  • "Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture." Anthony Burgess
  • "Fantastic writing in English is kind of disreputable, but fantastic writing in translation is the summit." Jonathan Lethem
  • "Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.” Voltaire
  • "Translation is like a woman. If it is beautiful, it is not faithful. If it is faithful, it is most certainly not beautiful." Yevgeny Yevtushenko
  • "A firm, for instance, that does business in many countries of the world is driven to spend an enormous amount of time, labour, and money in providing for translation services." Edward Sapir
  • "A translation is no translation, he said, unless it will give you the music of a poem along with the words of it." Millington Synge
  • "As far as modern writing is concerned, it is rarely rewarding to translate it, although it might be easy. Translation is very much like copying paintings." Boris Pasternak
  • "Translation cannot be dissociated from the notion of progress, some even maintain that a society can be measured by the translation it accepts -" Jean-Francois Joly
  • "Say what we may of the inadequacy of translation, yet the work is and will always be one of the weightiest and worthiest undertakings in the general concerns of the world." J. W. Goethe
  • "If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen." Willy Brandt
  • "By reason of weird translation, many such sets of instructions read like poems anyhow." Brian Ferneyhough
  • "Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself." Havelock Ellis
  • "For what is liberty but the unhampered translation of will into act?" Cyril Connolly
  • "If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream." Rene Magritte
  • "Nor ought a genius less than his that writ attempt translation." Sir.John Denham
  • "The best thing on translation was said by Cervantes: translation is the other side of a tapestry." Leonardo Sciascia
  • "Translation is an interestingly different way to be involved both with poetry and with the language that I've found myself living in much of the time. I think the two feed each other." Marilyn Hacker
  • "What makes literature interesting is that it does not survive its translation. The characters in a novel are made out of the sentences. That's what their substance is." Jonathan Miller
  • "When you're looking that far out, you're giving people their place in the universe, it touches people. Science is often visual, so it doesn't need translation. It's like poetry, it touches you." Story Musgrave
  • "Where words can be translated into equivalent words, the style of an original can be closely followed; but no translation which aims at being written in normal English can reproduce the style of Aristotle." Gilbert Murray
  • "God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice." John Donne
  • "A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations." Ezra Pound
  • "Humour is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue." Virginia Woolf
  • "Translation is the paradigm, the exemplar of all writing…. It is translation that demonstrates most vividly the yearning for transformation that underlies every act involving speech, that supremely human gift." Harry Mathews
  • "I do not hesitate to read … all good books in translations. What is really best in any book is translatable—any real insight or broad human sentiment." Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. What is the other text, the original? I have no answer. I suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim, and one catches them in nets of words and swings them shining into the boat … where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches." Ursula K. Le Guin
  • "To translate, one must have a style of his own, for the translation will have no rhythm or nuance, which come from the process of artistically thinking through and molding the sentences; they cannot be reconstituted by piecemeal imitation. The problem of translation is to retreat to a simpler tenor of one’s own style and creatively adjust this to one’s author." Paul Goodman
  • "Translating should be an enriching intellectual experience and you should end a job as a different person." Danilo Nogueira
  • "Poetry cannot be translated; and, therefore, it is the poets that preserve the languages; for we would not be at the trouble to learn a language if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation. But as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language except that in which it was originally written, we learn the language." Samuel Johnson
  • "When languages are formed upon different principles, it is impossible that the same modes of expression should always be elegant in both. While they run together, the closest translation may be considered as the best; but when they divaricate, each must take its natural course. Where correspondence cannot be obtained, it is necessary to be content with something equivalent." Samuel Johnson Dryden (Lives of the Poets)
  • "A translator is to be like his author; it is not his business to excel him." Samuel Johnson Dryden (Lives of the Poets)
  • "Translators are the closest readers – the ones who pay the most meticulous attention to every shade of meaning of every word. Which often produces embarrassing moments when I realise, years after a book has appeared in English, that there are small mistakes and confusions in the text…
  • "When I think of this profession I think of priestly, tireless dedication to getting it right." Emma Donoghue
  • "I see translating as a sort of 'confined freedom' or 'free confinement', because while it is certainly true that this job gives you some extent of freedom from fixed schedules and duties – although deadlines and time constraints do exist for translators too! – it challenges you with the creation of something that needs to be kept within certain boundaries, must fit in and adapt to a shell that is already there." Giovanna Scocchera
  • "A translator is the most observant reader. Watching a life of the book under a different cultural context, with respect to other people is for me a great adventure and challenge. I enormously respect the translators’ arduous, solitary and unrewarding work." Agata Tuszynska
  • "The translator must be a great editor, a psychologist, a judge of human taste; if not, his translation will be a nightmare. But why should a man with such rare qualities become a translator? Why shouldn't he be a writer himself, or be engaged in a business where diligent work and high intelligence are well paid? A good translator must be both a sage and a fool. And where do you get such strange combinations?" Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • "It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work." Walter Benjamin
  • "Without translation I would be limited to the borders of my own country. The translator is my most important ally. He introduces me to the world." Italo Calvino
  • "If you want to produce a vital translation, at some point in the translation process you have to forget the original. Some would say you have to kill it. Ideally by eating it alive."Peter Cole
  • "You'll never know exactly what a translator has done. He reads with maniacal attention to nuance and cultural implication, conscious of all the books that stand behind this one; then he sets out to rewrite this impossibly complex thing in his own language, re-elaborating everything, changing everything in order that it remain the same, or as close as possible to his experience of the original. In every sentence the most loyal respect must combine with the most resourceful inventiveness. Imagine shifting the Tower of Pisa into downtown Manhattan and convincing everyone it's in the right place; that's the scale of the task." Tim Parks
  • “Translators never come to rest; they are constantly in two places at the same time by building associations that carry the foreign into the known of their own language.” Rainer Schulte
  • “The translator who does not doubt on the inside is likely to raise doubt on the outside.” Russell Scott Valentino
  • “All translating seems to me to be simply an attempt to accomplish an impossible task.” Wilhelm von Humboldt

Spanish Quotes about Translation

  • “La traducción es una de las poquísimas actividades humanas donde lo imposible ocurre por principio”. Mariano Antolín Rato
  • "Cuando yo era chico, ignorar el francés era ser casi analfabeto. Con el decurso de los años pasamos del francés al inglés y del inglés a la ignorancia, sin excluir la del propio castellano". Jorge Luis Borges
  • "Los escritores hacen la literatura nacional y los traductores hacen la literatura universal". José Saramago
  • "En primer lugar, un traductor es un hombre que no tiene ningún derecho; sólo tiene deberes. Debe demostrar a su autor una fidelidad de perro, pero de un perro especial, que se comporta como un mono". Maurice E. Coindreau
  • "La poesía traducida es claro de luna disecado". Heine
  • "La traducción es una de las poquísimas actividades humanas donde lo imposible ocurre por principio". Mariano Antolín Rato
  • "Las cualidades propias de cada lengua son intraducibles: todo está en relación con los datos específicos de una nación". Goethe

  • "Lo peor de ser un traductor profesional es que uno se acostumbra a exprimir cada esponja hasta secarla – y son tan pocos los autores que han tenido la intención de usar todo el contenido de sus esponjas. Las palabras se hacen más ricas cada vez que se las utiliza deliberadamente… pero sólo cuando son deliberadamente utilizadas; y es difícil ser consciente de cada una de las palabras y al mismo tiempo consciente de sí". T. E. Lawrence
  • "Sin traducción habitaríamos provincias lindantes con el silencio". George Steiner
  • "Cada texto es único y, simultáneamente, es la traducción de otro texto. Ningún texto es enteramente original porque el lenguaje mismo, en su esencia, es ya una traducción: primero, del mundo no verbal y, después, porque cada signo y cada frase es la traducción de otro signo y de otra frase. Pero ese razonamiento puede invertirse sin perder validez: todos los textos son originales, porque cada traducción es distinta. Cada traducción es, hasta cierto punto, una invención y así constituye un texto único". Octavio Paz
  • "Traducir es producir con medios diferentes efectos análogos". Paul Valéry
  • "El lector ideal es un traductor. Es capaz de desmenuzar un texto, retirarle la piel, cortarlo hasta la médula, seguir cada arteria y cada vena y luego poner en pie a un nuevo ser viviente". Alberto Manguel
  • "Una lengua es toda una visión del mundo, y hasta cuando una lengua adopta una palabra ajena suele teñirla de otro modo, con cierta traición imperceptible. Una lengua, además, vale tanto por lo que dice como por lo que calla, y es dable interpretar sus silencios". Alfonso Reyes
  • "Si fuera necesario traducir la fórmula tradicional “Traduttore, traditore”, por “el traductor es un traidor”, privaríamos al epigrama italiano de su valor paranomástico. De ahí una actitud que nos obligaría a transformar ese aforismo en una posición más explícita, y responder a las preguntas: ¿traductor de qué mensajes? ¿traidor a qué valores?" Román Jakobson
  • "Traducir de una lengua a otra es el más delicado de los ejercicios intelectuales; comparado con él, los otros acertijos, del bridge al rompecabezas, parecen triviales y vulgares. Tomar un fragmento de griego y ponerlo en inglés sin derramar una gota ¡qué agradable destreza!" Cyril Connelly
  • "Traducir es siempre sacrificar; pero no ha de sacrificarse nada esencial". Enrique Diez-Canedo
  • "Si el traductor hace su trabajo como debe, es un benefactor de la humanidad; si no, un auténtico enemigo público". Miguel Sáenz

Quotes about language

  • "Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them." Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • "As a hawk flieth not high with one wing, even so a man reacheth not to excellence with one tongue." Roger Ascham
  • "True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and nothing but what is necessary." Heinrich Heine
  • "We tend to look through language and not realize how much power language has." Deborah Tannen
  • "The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them." Stephen King
  • "Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne." Quentin Crisp
  • "For the beautiful word begets the beautiful deed." Thomas Mann


Brainy Quote

Teoría de la Traducción

Wisdom quotes

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Famous quotes about translation

judithyf Identity Verified
Local time: 16:46
Hebrew to English
+ ...
Comment about translation Apr 27, 2011

"He who translates a biblical verse literally is a liar, but he
who elaborates on it is a blasphemer."
-Rabbi Judah (2nd century-Tosephta, Megillah 4.41-p.24
in Metzger)


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