About books and translation

ABOUT BOOKS and about translation

 

A book makes its reader believe he/she owns a fragment of language, or at least during the reading time. Beware of this belief.

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A book is a frozen flow of language.  It is up to the reader to defrost it. Beware of frostbite.

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Bookin French (livre) almost sounds like free (libre), unsurprisingly since they share the same Latin etymology. A book makes one free or, rather,couldmake one free just like it can cause imprisonment or even bring death. One should never forget such a risk when reading a book. Beware of the (French) etymology.

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You flee the world by opening a book and taking refuge in this second world.  But in it, nothing can be modified; you are merely a powerless spectator.  At the same time, you are holding the ultimate power: you close the book, you shut down a world.

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Never let a film steal your vision of a book.

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A reader must know how to read in order to read a book. Why does not the same rule apply to writers?

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A good translation has to be a forgery or a pastiche, never a mere copy.

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 One does not translate from a given language into another one but always between languages.

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Who is the author of a translated book? The original writer? The translator? It is safer to bet on the reader.

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A translation has the advantage over the original of sharing the burden of authorship with all other translations.

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The stuff translation is made of is as much history as language.

 

Alexis Nouss

‘Books and Print’ -  January 2013.

 

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