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Translation

  • I feel that when the translator is laughing, the humor will manage to get across. One of the biggest difficulties when translating David Sedaris's humor is that you laugh so hard that it is almost impossible to concentrate.

  • The translator ... Peculiar outcast, ghost in the world of literature, recreating in another form something already created, creating and not creating, writing words that are his own and not his own, writing a work not original to him, composing with utmost pains and without recognition of his pains or the fact that the composition really is his own.

    • Lydia Davis,
    • in Maurice Blanchot, The Gaze of Orpheus ()
  • In some sense the text and the translator are locked in struggle — 'I attacked that sentence, it resisted me, I attacked another, it eluded me' — a struggle in which, curiously, when the translator wins, the text wins too ...

    • Lydia Davis,
    • in Maurice Blanchot, The Gaze of Orpheus ()
  • ... the translator, a lonely sort of acrobat, becomes confused in a labyrinth of paradox, or climbs a pyramid of dependent clauses and has to invent a way down from it in his own language.

    • Lydia Davis,
    • in Maurice Blanchot, The Gaze of Orpheus ()
  • The task of translation can never be a light one, since every language has not only its own peculiar shades of meaning, but also its own peculiar charm — a fragrance which evaporates as soon as the national frontier is crossed.

    • Grace E. Hadow,
    • in Berthold Litzmann, ed., Clara Schumann: An Artist's Life, Based on Material Found in Diaries and Letters, vol. 1 ()
  • There are few efforts more conducive to humility than that of the translator trying to communicate an incommunicable beauty. Yet, unless we do try, something unique and never surpassed will cease to exist except in the libraries of a few inquisitive book lovers.