Traductors, traducció i metàfores

Una de les coses que, a la meva manera lenta i irregular, vaig fent en aquesta secció de citacions és anar recollint metàfores i explicacions sobre què és la traducció. L’altre dia en vaig trobar en aquest fragment d’una entrevista a Don Barlett, el traductor a l’anglès de Karl Ove Knausgård (ja us vaig dir que em va semblar molt bo), que no només aporta la seva metàfora sinó que fa referència a la necessitat de tenir-ne i crear-ne, a més d’explicar una mica les «coses rares» que passen pel cap dels traductors. Apuntat queda, doncs (tot i que amb l’última frase no hi acabo d’estar d’acord).

What traits do you think translators have in common, if any?

I suppose we all like our own company. You’re alone, but words do something for you; words have a special value for you, so if you spend a whole day in a room away from anybody else, the words themselves have a magic that gives you a feeling the day is still worthwhile. When I meet other translators at book fairs and so on, we’re all over each other, keen to talk; and that night when you go back to wherever you’re sleeping, your brain is flooded with impressions, because suddenly so many things from the real world have impinged on yours.

How would you fill this in: a translation is to the original as X is to Y?

I don’t think there is a formula for translation. We all create metaphors for what we do, and I suppose we do that because it’s difficult to describe. If you create a metaphor to try to explain to people what it’s like for me, the closest is actually music. You’ve got a composer, then you’ve got a conductor and orchestra, and what the conductor and orchestra do is to interpret the composer, and that kind of interpretation and replaying is very similar to what we’re doing and that is closest to what we do. I always feel that, when you’re trying to demystify it, that’s what you do. I say to people, I would like it if they would write at the beginning of a translated book, “Retold in English by John Smith,” instead of “Translated by John Smith.”

Don Barlett, entrevista a ‘Los Angeles Review of Books’