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A Translator's Handbook

Posted at 8:31AM Friday 21 Feb 2014

One crucial rule of translation is that the translator should always work toward her own native language. If you were born in the US but speak good Italian, then you will translate from Italian into English, never the other way around. It is your native language that exerts the strongest, most irresistible gravitational force. Regardless of how close one's translation cleaves to the original—cleave is an auto-antonym, its own opposite, meaning both to adhere and to divide—a skilled translator must bring her own creativity to the mix, for she is creating a parallel imaginative work.

Literary Saloon: The value of a good translator

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