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About this book

Never before in our country is the art of literary translation has not reached a pinnacle, What it is going through.
In the entire history of Russian literature had no other period, when there would be such a large galaxy of gifted writers, who give their talent translations.
were geniuses, Zhukovsky and Pushkin, but they were giants among the Lilliputians: lonely they towered above the crowd inept and weak - lonely, who do not know equal.
And now the number of brilliant artists of the word, devoted themselves to this hard work, shows, that there was an unprecedented. It's true, I have never been, to shoulder to shoulder at the same time, within a decade, We worked on translations of such talents.
The art of translation is given its strength even identity of our poets - with a strong personal style, with sharp artistic personality traits.
Important role in the development of this high art played, as known, AM. Bitter, founded in Petrograd 1918 year with the support of VI. Lenin publishing "World Literature". This publishing house, rally around a hundred writers, It has set a special goal - to raise the level of translation of art and develop skills for young translators, which would give the new Soviet reader, first attached to the cultural heritage of all time, best books, which only exists on earth .
academics, professors and writers, Gorky attracted to the implementation of this task,, examined very closely the old translations of Dante, Cervantes, Goethe, Byron, Flaubert, Zola, Dickens, Balzac, Thackeray, as well as Chinese, Arab, Persian, Turkish classics and have come to a very sad conclusion, what, except in rare cases, old translations in the vast majority strongly worthless, that almost all translations must be done again, on the other - is strictly scientific - reasons, excluding the old methods of unscrupulous amateurish.
To do this, he needed a theory of literary translation, equips interpreter simple and clear principles, so that everyone - even the ordinary - the translator can improve their skills.
These principles are vaguely felt different from us, but they were not at the time stated. Therefore, several members of the scientific board of the publishing house "World Literature" (including me) Gorky suggested to make a sort of guide for the old and new masters of translation, formulate the rules, which should help them in the work of foreign text.
I remember, how daunting the task seemed. Once Gorky during a meeting of our board approached me with a question, how to reach out to others:
- What do you consider a good translation?
I became confused and said indistinctly:
- That ... that ... the most artistic ...
- And what do you think is the most artistic?
- That ... that ... true to the poetic originality of the script.
- And what is the - right to transfer? And what is the poetic originality of the script?
Here I completely embarrassed. Instinctively, I could literary flair, and then to distinguish good from bad translation, but to give a theoretical justification of certain of its assessments - of that I was not prepared. Then there was not a single Russian book, devoted to the theory of translation. I am trying to write a book, I felt like a loner, wandering on the unknown road. Now this is ancient history, and it seems almost unbelievable, what, except for the few - sometimes soulful - remarks, writers of an earlier era have left us no common methodology of literary translation.
Now times have changed. Now in our literary scholarship, such studies prominently. A lot of them and getting bigger every year. Here is a list of them - is far from complete.
Stamp Book. Alekseeva "literary translation problem" (1931); book AV. Fedorov, "On Literary Translation" (1941); his "Introduction to the theory of translation" (1958); The book is. Etkind "Poetry and Translation" (1963); five collections, published "Soviet writer", and under the general title "translation Mastery" (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966) ; "Notebooks translator" (1960–1967); book "Translation Theory and Criticism" (1962); a collection of "International Relations of Russian Literature" edited by Academician MP. Alekseeva (1963), a collection of "Editor and Translation" (1965) etc.
But then, of such books could only dream of.
In recent decades, our literature has arisen a large group of first-class translation theorists of art (кроме тех, that have just been mentioned here) - Givi Gachechiladze, AND A. Kashka, Alexei Kundzych, AV. One Day, YU.D. Levin, left Mkrtchyan, P.M. Toper, ME AND. Recker, VM. Rossels, VE. Shore and others.
Of course, during the "World Literature" I have a lot could learn from them, if their writings existed then - in 1918 year.
Meanwhile, I was asked by a coherent and rigorous theory, to comprehensively cover this big problem. Create a theory I was not able to, but pragmatically to develop some basic rules, prompting the translator correct operation system, I could.
leafing Now, in half a century, thin brochure - the original version of this book, - I do not remember the time, with some hard work was necessary to "open" such indisputable truths, which are now considered to be elementary.
At the same time I was clear, and the other precious truth. I understood, that a good translator worthy of honor in our literary circles, because he is not a craftsman, no copyist, but the artist. He does not photograph the original, As usual it was believed then, but recreates it creatively. The text of the script is it material for a complex and often inspired creativity. Translator - first of all talent. In order to translate Balzac, he should at least partially be reincarnated in Balzac, assimilate the temperament, catch his pathos, his poetic life sensation.
Unfortunately, at that time had not yet hatched black people, in whose eyes every bunglers topical poems used much more respect and weight, than, let us say, translator of Cervantes Sonnets. These people were not able to understand, that the first is often not needed anything, except for a dozen well-worn cliches, and the second was to have all the qualities of a literary master and, Besides, a fair amount of learning.
somewhat later, in the early twenties, She began to emerge, and other highly significant fact, further increase in our eyes the value of translation work. understood, that in the Soviet system under literary translation is a matter of national importance, in which millions of people have a vested interest - Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Tajiks and other nations, for the first time had the opportunity to share their literary value. The victory of the Leninist national policy has radically altered the entire literary life of our multinational, multilingual country. When poet-translators H. Combs and I. Kozlowski make treasure of Russian poetry lyrics Avar Rasul Gamzatov, when Leonid Pervomaisky gives his intelligent talent Ukrainian translation Dagestan, Ossetian, Moldovan, slovatskyh, Serbian, mordovskih ballad, their consciousness animates, that these are not only enrich the native literature, but also serve the great cause of uniting the peoples. And is it not this same purpose is served by the works of Boris Pasternak and Nikolai Zabolockij, to join the Russian literature of the Georgian poetry giants, how Rustaveli, Huramyshvyly, Orbeliani, Chavchavadze, Vazha Pshavela and worthy heir - Titian Tabidze and Paolo Iashvili.
Its main mission the Soviet translators see it in the service of this lofty goal. Each of them could say about myself winged words of the poet Boris Slutsky:

I work with unheard willingly
I just because of translations,
That transfers sound the infantry,
Blasting shafts between nations .

Would, of course, It is tempting to provide readers a complete and detailed overview of all the achievements of Soviet masters of translation over the last fifteen - twenty years. But the task of this book is much more modest. It refers only to the masters, work which may serve as illustrations to expound the ideas and principles. Therefore, many - even the strongest - the translators were outside the book, and I was not presented their case to express his admiration.
readership, who would like to obtain more detailed and diverse information about, what is happening in this area, I refer to the already mentioned book E. Etkind "Poetry and Translation". It gives literary portraits of the best contemporary masters of poetic translation, whose work is most characteristic of artistic tastes and requirements of our age.
Given me judgment and the facts do not require any special knowledge of the reader. I wrote my book because, that it understood those, who do not know foreign languages. I wanted, that through this book, learning problems, related to the transfer of skills, handy not a novice translators, but the widest readership.

Chapter one
dictionary error

It was in the thirties.
The Academy of Sciences published a commemorative book about Gorky. One member of the scientific editorial board called me on the phone and asked, I do not know English writer Orchard.
- Orchard?
- Yes. Cherry Orchard.
I laughed directly into the phone and explained, Cherry Orchard that is not an English writer, and "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov, because "Cherry" - in English cherry, and the "Orchard" - in English garden.
I was told, I'm wrong, and sent a pile of newspapers Moscow 25 September 1932 of the year, which shows a telegram Bernard Shaw to Gorky.
This telegram, as far as I could guess, Bernard Shaw praises Gorky's play for, that they have no such limp and flaccid heroes, which are derived in Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard", and employee TASS, translating hurry, I made from the title of Chekhov's play mythical citizen of the British Empire, bourgeois writer Mr. Cherry Orchard, and who expressed his disapproval of the, that his characters are not like Gorky .
In translation practice, such transformations - business as usual.
At Michael Froman has a translation of a poem by Kipling:

Like in the glow of the fire
I saw the dawn,
How was the goddess Tara,
All beaming, above, –

Although Tara - is not a goddess, and not even a woman, but only the mountain Tara Devi - one of the Himalayan peaks . Such lapses can cause a lot of. Here's one - the most striking.
Excellent translator Valentin Smetanich (Stenich), Translated from the German-French novel by Charles Louis Philippe, He depicted in translation, as a young granddaughter, sending money from Paris to his old grandfather, living with the country, It gives him such an incredible advice:
- Go for the money to the girls, not to bother grandma.
This phrase further predetermined ratio of an interpreter for the heroine. Он решил, that life in Paris has corrupted her, and all its subsequent actions gave shade of cynicism. What was surprising translator, when a few years later, he met with the script and saw, granddaughter, sending money to his grandfather, not offered him to spend the money on debauchery, but simply advised to take a maid, grandmother to make it easier to cope with homework.
Even sadder error MK. Lemke, Edit Collected Works AI. Herzen. Leafing through this edition, I found a very strange thing: is, Herzen so dearly loved Ogareva, that sent him in the mail pieces of his own flesh.
Lemke gives a translation of one of his notes to Ogarev:

"Take my mezhdufileynuyu part of Mazade. I'll send her a few days ago " .

Luckily, This friendly mutilation - a myth, because the original stated clearly:

"Take my newspaper an article (tidbit) Mazade about ... "

Of course, these purely lexical errors, we should be treated with the greatest severity, For untold hardships, which sometimes may bring translated authors misinterpretation of a single foreign word.
If I needed the most obvious example, I have quoted the poem Negro poet L. Hughes translated experienced writer Michael Zenkevich. A poem entitled "Black Maria", and it, according to the translation, is told, a passionate love blazes a Negro to black beauty, which rejected him:

The Black Maria
radiance of the day
Not for me.

I can imagine, how grieved translator, when it was discovered, that the Black Maria - not a woman, and ... a prison van to transport prisoners, and that in actual fact the Negro is not very ardently sought to embrace this hateful "Mary". Poems should be transferred here in these words:

Most read verses Chukovsky:


All poetry (content alphabetically)

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