Quote of the Week: Alexander Dawe on Translating Turkey’s Tanpınar

‘Learn the original language before you try recasting it in another,’ they might rightly say. ‘And then you won’t make so many mistakes.’ And I certainly made my share of those. But is it not through reformulation, trial and error, constant digging that we begin to reach some kind of higher ground? Is translation not a vision of the perfect conversation. One that is always rising. In which both sides truly listen, one person not only working to save the other, win an argument, swim faster, gain ground; it is a calm and balanced sense of the immediate moment that makes for a more sublime transfer of ideas, a shared idiom, a spirited common language; it is a beautiful balloon kept up in air by two friends tapping it gently back and forth.

(Alexander Dawe, excerpted from Lost and Found: A Few Words on Translating Tanpinar, Bosphorus Review of Books)

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