Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oulipo, catachresis, right and wrong

Phyllis Aronoff sent me this interesting article for the ALTA blog, a talk entitled "Translation and the Oulipo: The Case of the Persevering Maltese," by Harry Mathews. It's about "sound translations", like Marcel Benabou's transformation of "A thing of beauty is a joy forever":

Ah, singe débotté,
Hisse un jouet fort et vert
------------------
"O unshod monkey,
raise a stout green toy!"


Phyllis further quotes Mathews: "The Oulipo certainly can't help [translators] in an obvious way. Unless he wanted to sabotage his employer, an editor would be mad to employ an Oulipian as a translator." And then he shows how Oulipo might help a translator in less-obvious ways.


This all reminds me (Liz) of Frankfurt's famous essay "On Bullshit". I do like the accidents that engender new accidents, and catachrestic eruptions, but I don't think I would call them translations. I was near fatally annoyed in a class a couple of years ago by a person who claimed that, since she only had a small inadequate dictionary and didn't know Greek, she could just "pick the word that came before or after the word she was looking up" and use it for a "valid" translation. And that was okay, because that was her level of understanding, her creative filter, and made perfectly good art. While I love the idea of multiple truths, multiple translations, Oulipian game-playing, and a bit of out-of-control chaos; the idea that there might be no RIGHT translation --- I do believe there are WRONG translations.

7 comments:

Noga said...

The idea that arbitrary choice can replace a meaningful term/word is just terrifying to me. What could be the point of such a translation?

Anne Carson asks:

“What really connects words and things?”

Human beings, tend to use language as Homer says “the gods do. All human words are known to the gods but have for them entirely other meanings alongside our meanings. They flip the switch at will”.

Arbitrary choice in translation means untranslatability. It encourages misunderstanding, disunderstanding each other and is an avoidance of any onus of responsibility.

B2b said...

B2b,
B2b Business,business to business industry professional
B2b Marketplace,nternational multilingual B2B marketplace
B2b Marketing,marketing content site giving B2B
B2b Site,Web site with B2B
B2b E-Commerce,benefited from B2B e-commerce include
B2b Portal,Online searchable business
B2b B2c,Information for C-Level
B2b Trust, B2B Trust offers
B2b Sales,usiness to business b2b sales
B2b Trade, b2g import export trade
B2b Directory, comprehensive directory of b2b
Indymac B2b, career potential,
B2b Contractors, The B2B contractors
B2b supply chain, integrating a B2B supply chain is not magic
B2b Trade Leads,trade leads for import export
Yahoo B2b,Yahoo! reviewed these sites and found them related to Business to Business (B2B)
B2b Commerce,Build powerful e-commerce
B2b Magazine,A magazine for business-to-business
B2b Websites,Designing B2B Websites
Taiwan B2b, Global Taiwan China Asian B2B Commerce

Flights said...

Flights,
British Airways Flights,
Domestic Flights,
Economic Flights,
Flight Tracker,
Flights Plans,
Flights Schools,
Slights Security,
Flights Offers,
International Flights,
Military Flights,
Private Pilot Certificate,

night vision said...

Night Vision,
Night Vision Binoculars,With the proper night-vision equipment
Night Vision Scopes,Offers night vision binoculars
Night Vision Cameras,Night Vision Googles Night vision
Itt Night Vision,Night Vision Yahoo (NVG)
Night Vision Glasses,High spec night vision technology
Night Vision Camcorder,Modules for Camcorders
Night Vision Devices,High quality optical devices
Night Vision Security Cameras,security camera equipment
Ant Night Vision,A lot of us would like
Bushnell Night Vision,monoculars
Night Owl Night Vision,Complete Darkness with Night Owl
Yukon Night Vision,manufacturers of Yukon
Night Vision Optics,variety of day-time optics
Night Vision Rifle Scopes,Supplier of night vision device
Night Vision Equipment, the most complete selection
Us Night Vision,US Army and Electronic Sensors Directorate
Cheap Night Vision,Technology products
Night Vision Gear,Hard to find spy cameras
Russian Night Vision,Russian made night vision
Litton Night Visionfeaturing unrivaled Litton Night Vision

Flooring said...

Flooring,
Armstrong flooring, Welcome to the colorful world of Flooring
Bamboo flooring, Bamboo is botanically classified as grass
Brick flooring,The brick flooring is one of the best unmatched alternative for flooring devices.
Concrete Flooring,it is cost effective, durable & high strength
Cork Flooring, warm & quite with high durability
Wood floor, Wood floors are excellent choice
Kitchen flooring,
Laminate Floors, Laminate flooring is the best alternate for real hardwood flooring Laminate flooring is the best.more info avaleble on google ,yahoo & msn
Marble flooring,One of which is hard stone product
Rubber flooring, his one is a revolutionary product in flooring phenomena
State flooring,Welcome to State Flooring
Flooring Industry,

Cat said...

Cat,
Cat families,nformation about cats and kittens
Cat health, best way to keep your cat healthy
Cats behavior, All about Cats behavior
Cat picture,yahoo Shopping is the best Crystal Orange Cat Picture
Cat Sound, Control of Sound Localization in the Cat
Cat Name, Name for the Domestic Cat. Category provided on google
Cat Home, About Cat. Home
Cat Power, Cat Power find on msn Encarta
Funny Cat, Do you have a funny Cat Picture
Cat Eyes, view the world through the eyes of a cat
Cat Tattoos, Cat Tattoos Shop
Cat Women,

viagra said...

Informative details on history of viagra confirm that the anti-impotency drug Viagra was actually developed by researchers with the purpose of curing angina but incidentally during clinical trails, the drug was found effective in treating erectile dysfunction in men. With clinical results demonstrating the powerful effects of Viagra in triggering off erections necessary for sexual intercourse,impotency afflicted worldwide opted for the medication and the viagra phenomenon also offered suitable assistance to them in countering erectile dysfunction. Slowly and gradually Viagra has developed a deepest level of relationship with men which has further led to an indelible association between viagra and sexuality. And right now viagra and erectile dysfunction related tidbits are popular throughout the world and erectile dysfunction afflicted men worldwide are administering Viagra under medical supervision.