In reading the two translations of Requiem, I found myself drawn to Anderson’s translation due to its emotional resonance. The translation carried rhyme and aimed to flow a certain way. Given that I do not have the context of the original Russian writing, I can only infer that Anderson’s translation required interpretation by Anderson to achieve such sentiments. However, Thomas’s translation was elegant and sophisticated, in a way which I assume is much closer to the original text. I believe that both translations convey the message effectively despite the obvious differences.
In my AT group, we primarily discussed the differences we found between the two translations. We evaluated Thomas’s translation as much more sophisticated and direct translation of the original text and Anderson’s text as interpreted and personal. Thomas’s translation used direct language and imagery. We all agreed on the fact that Anderson likely translated for a native English speaker as seen in the language used, and Thomas took to translating directly from the original Russian.
We then talked about which translation is more effective, or if they each satisfy something completely different. We discussed topics such as if translation closer to the original text is more significant, or should we rely on the translator to interpret the writing? This conversation was very reminiscent of Dr. Robb’s unit and the discussion of translation. As we have encountered with many texts in our time in humanities, many scholarly texts are written in other languages and are then translated to English. To truly understand the text, you would have to read it in the original language, however, that is often not possible. The translator then has the authority to translate the work as they see fit.
Perhaps there is no correct answer to this highly debated question. In essence, how does a translator capture the deeper meaning of the text, the words left unsaid, often read between the lines? One approach may be to read both strictly textual translations and also read an interpretative version. In this way, the reader receives both aspects of the text and can more closely examine the text for its meaning. Another approach would be to read commentary made by scholars about the text in its original language. They may have read it in the original language and then created commentary in English corresponding to it. I cannot provide the answer to these questions, and it may be that there is no answer.