A variety of well-known figures have weighed in on the art of translation. Borges said, “El original no es fiel a la traducción” (“The original is unfaithful to the translation”). “Translation is the art of failure,” according to Umberto Eco. Ursula K. Le Guin has said, “Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. What is the other text, the original? I have no answer. I suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim, and one catches them in nets of words and swings them shining into the boat … where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches.”
Do any of these quotes represent what translation is to you? Do you have a favorite quote on translation that better sums up the profession?
There is a ProZ.com Wiki article which is a collection of memorable quotes on or related to translation. Check it out here. Add to it if you can.
If you could sum up the art of translation, or the life of a translator, what original quote would you like to leave behind? Be creative!