When I homeschooled the girls, this author and homeschooling mom, Melissa Wiley, wrote about her homeschool being tidal.
I believe my reading life to be tidal as well. This means there’s moments of high energy and activity, followed by other times where for some reason, I’m not as engaged, and I may feel a bit stagnated. But it may simply be that we all need some time to process and ponder, or that life takes front line, and reading, writing, and the blogging community are pushed aside as a consequence.
However, I can say that, if I’m not reading, I’m usually thinking about it.
Currently I’m at a high tide, where read along opportunities have arrived, and when I’ve found kindred spirits that have inspired me to take up some books, and helped me find others that are meant for me. The problem with a high tide is that it’s hit me with lots of goodness at once, therefore I need to pause and regroup. I don’t want to miss anything, 🙂
You all know of my current affair with Moby Dick. I thank Brona for proposing this read along. And Bellezza for her faithful posts of quotes every ten chapters. This was an unusual way for me to follow up on a book. I like it so much that I may employ it early next year when I take up on One Hundred Years of Solitude with Ruth. She writes a quote per chapter every ten chapters. I do love going back to the book through the quotes, and also her comments on some of them.
This week I discovered cathyc‘s blog, a person whose reviews I love to read at Goodreads, and who is importing them to her blog. Talking about this and that, she redirected me to a book that I had been recommended last year, Umberto Eco’s Experiences in Translation, which I’m reading in the Spanish translation, where it’s called “Decir casi lo mismo.”
I was shamefully puffed up yesterday as I read the first pages and saw my small thoughts on translation beautifully expressed, and wisely defended by no less than Umberto Eco! From the pen of a man who has translated books himself, looked at other translations, and had his own books translated to many languages, and lots of conversations with his different translators, came some conclusions I’ve also contemplated.
Our proposal. Ahem. His proposal is about approaching translation from the experiences in translation themselves, from the reality of that which editorials commission, and translators engage on. Theoretical conclusions may be smart and alluring, but the problems we face when we translate, and the existence of translations that are accepted or rejected using clear guidelines, take us to a much more fascinating realm. Eco speaks from the position of someone who is involved in translation. He is not telling language scholars to shut up, but I like where he draws the lines of what he’s going to talk about. As a person who has translated, and who has read and edited other people’s translations, I right away attest to what he says he’s learned from his own experience doing this too. His best knowledge came from the problems some of his translators faced, how they posed those problems to him, and how they worked together at solving them. That taught him that at times, the apparent limitation or obstacle the translator faced led both of them to a solution that, -ready?- IMPROVED his original text.
Eco has also a humble approach. Instead of aiming at a complex and all encompassing theory of translation, he also limits his book to translation in the present, and from text to text. What do I mean? He doesn’t deal so much with translation from old books and deceased authors, -though he always borrows from any translation effort at all moments when it helps us understand some aspects of it, or to categorize all sort of different experiences that fall under what we call translation. He also doesn’t deal with the translation when it’s done in a different medium. For example, a book turned into a movie, a poem into a song, etc. He talks mainly about what happens when he publishes a book and it gets translated into many different languages.
In my head, instead of talking about the composition of food and which recipes are better, it’s about talking of all that happens when people cook certain things, and follow certain recipes that are being consumed, and how they are received, with special attention at failed recipes, or obstacles to follow some recipes when you have to change some ingredients but you want to obtain the original dish. As such, he’ll write about language somehow, and what happens in a few very relevant scenarios when we attempt to say that in a different language.
Umberto Eco is also a reader. He understands and gives credit to the readers’s sixth sense when it comes to translations. If you love language, and books, and have read in translation, this book is for you. His tone is conversationalist because the book content comes from a series of conferences he attended where as he says, he constantly came to a different view on translation than that of most of the other presenters.
It’s possible that while reading, you come to finally identify experiences with language and books you’ve had and couldn’t articulate. To me, this book is extremely rewarding.
Next, I intend to write another post with my wish list for Christmas and January, cause, why not? There’s several books that I’m noticing which have caught my interest, and that I can’t read or buy right now, so I’m going to cherish writing that list and anticipating their arrival.
I also need to work on a tangent post on scents and perfume. It’s part of an interesting conversation I’m having with Bellezza that started with perfumes and it’s progressing into, well, you guessed it, books! She also holds a Japanese books read along in January, and I’m looking forward to it.
P.S: I wish you all could smell the coffee. This brand has several kinds, all with Texan city names. I picked the Houston blend, not because that’s where I live, but because it’s seriously the best of their varieties.