Thursday, February 04, 2010

Proceeding Translation: Brandon Brown & David Larsen (@ Harriet)


By bringing the body/person of the translator into play—the ad hominem translator if you will—Brown cites the translator as a vital relay in the process of bearing a literary work across into language’s many afterlives (to use another curious term from the Benjamin). What’s more, translation becomes an act of second reflection (Adorno); the translator attends to translation as a conceptual act both reflecting and permuting the original object/idea of the translated work. The translation does not describe the original work, so much as it reconceives it, injecting it with new ideas and values. I like the way Brown gets at this problem through his terms “proceed” and “precede”—as though his translation were always marking the fact that it is constituted by delay, and/or a sense of uncanniness that the translated object cannot be frozen because the translator’s life is involved with it, in fact may even depend on it.

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