Literary Translation in Russia
Edited By Leon Burnett and Emily Lygo
Aleksei Semenenko Identity, Canon and Translation: Hamlets by Polevoi and Pasternak
The translation of canonical texts seems thus far to have escaped academic scrutiny: seen as marginal and probably irrelevant, little has been writ- ten on it as a separate theoretical problem. Nevertheless, the question of canon translation actualizes the opposition of target-culture oriented and source-culture oriented approaches to translation, which in turn raises the question of the relation of the translation to its original. Does translation replace the original or just create an ‘image’ of it? Can the translation be ‘better’ than the original? Can we compare these two texts at all? It is hard to find any translation analysis that would not involve the comparison of the target text with the source text: the connection between them seems to be the most natural point of departure of any evaluation of a translation. But even at this point it appears that all translations are dif ferent in the way they relate to their originals. It seems that we first have to distinguish between two large groups of texts: artistic and non-artistic (it should be noted that this opposition is rather schematic and presents the extremes of the contrasting poles; in reality, the boundary separating non-artistic and artistic texts from one another is not static but dynamic and recipient-specific). In the case of non-artistic texts, the adequacy and correctness of the translation are vital. If the instructions for, say, a TV set are poorly translated, I will probably not be able to operate my TV set; if I misunderstand a legal...
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