Translators and Europe

Carlos Ferrero wonders in an interesting post whether translators see themselves as builders of Europe. At the current rate of budgetary progress on language issues, I think we (I do the odd bit of Dutch- and Catalan-English) may actually succeed in destroying it.

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  1. Ah, but note that the article he cited was talking about *literary* translators: the REAL translators. EU language issues are about technical [read: non-literary] translation, which doesn’t count. Technical translation is something we only do to earn money ’cause we’d really rather be translating novels and poetry only we’re not good enough. Just a bunch of wannabes – how could we have any effect on Europe… or any part of the world?

  2. Margaret, I wonder if anybody knows that there are another types of translation, apart from literary translation. Just in the same way that many children think that milk comes from tetra-briks, I am sure that many people think that the translations of non-literary (i.e. technical, scientific, legal…) texts come from nowhere, perhaps from a black hole somewhere in outer space.

    Joking apart, I haven’t read the Kundera article that Iñaki Ezkerra mentions -I haven’t been able to find it on the Net-, but I’d bet that he was also thinking about literary translators. Highbrows don’t usually bother about such dull things as the daily work of the EU.

  3. One learns to live with the idea you express, i.e. that the common public really has little idea of translation. But what does irk me is the (apparently) widespread attitude that pervades the world of academic translation that literary translation is the only real translation; that those of us who translate annual reports, drug pamphlets and instruction manuals only do so for the money, because no one would ever do so by choice.

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