Sunday, July 10, 2011

Translating and the glue factory

Great conversation again at BBB on what's your metaphor - so many answers. The last one in my comment was 'rendering' but the comment slipped away before I finished the thought so I repeat it here

What is my metaphor for translation? Great question, and stimulating responses. I varied over the past two days thinking about this - my first thought was of a razor's edge that the word might slip between the excuses and explanations that we put in our ways.

Then I thought of the bloody-minded blunderbus - and realized that a razor might produce blood too, but a sharp and clean cut might not disable the subsequent pleasure of completeness.  Let us not be too bloody-minded.

This morning I noted what seemed a hapax in my database on the psalms - but it wasn't. I had the root wrong. So in correcting a word I have seen rendered as hope, or confidence, I was amused - though whether it is humour in the Psalms or not I cannot tell, that the root is not hope but stupidity or folly.  Psalm 78:7 - that they might set their folly on God and not forget the prodigality of אֵל. Prodigality or wantonness - it's a verse about our being taught about being translated.

And there's a third metaphor - rendered. How often I think of the glue factory when I use this word for translating!

It's not just that the horse is dead by the time we are finished but that we don't even need to be translating from one language to another to kill it.