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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A Kind of Trust

Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything,
David Bellos, Penguin, 2011, page 121

Bellos picks up on the issue of oral translation - using translators not for processing a book over a period of time but for speech translation in real time. He starts with:

'Translating' in this kind of cultural circumstances calls for a special kind of trust. If the force of an utterance is intimately linked to the identity of the speaker, then it can't be conveyed by any other speaker. That fundamental rule has to be suspended for oral translation to come into existence, since it requires the listener to take the words of the translator as if they had been uttered the the speaker of a foreign tongue. Oral translation in a world without writing creates and relies on a fiction - perhaps the earliest fictional invention of all. The first great leap forward in the history of translation must have been when some two communities found a way of agreeing that the speech of the translator was to be taken as having the same force as the immediately prior speech of the principal.

Posted By Jonathan, 8:10am Comment Comments: 0