Thursday, December 15, 2011

Translations as auxiliaries

What is the purpose of a translation?
It depends on whether one wants to produce independent text or one wants to help readers understand the original one. If one is translating a poem, one is very likely to prefer the first paradigm. An extreme, and hence interesting example of the second one is, by contrast, Kei Kataoka's translation of Kumārila, Ślokavārttika, codanā, (Kataoka 2011, Wien ÖAW). This translation includes each Sanskrit word in brackets within the translated text, which thus becomes an auxiliary to the Sanskrit one, rather than an independent text. Even dharma will figure in brackets, although it is translated as dharma. Hence, the reader may use the translation to follow step-by-step the translator's understanding of the text.

I discussed translations in many posts (this one is on my personal doubts while translating, this one, this one and this one are the purpose of translations, this one on English-specific problems, this one on a dychotomy between translations). The most interesting parts are, as often, the comments I received (see this post).

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